Somalia warns telecom companies not to comply with Al-Shabaab Internet ban
January 11, 2014 -- Updated 1041 GMT (1841 HKT)
This file photo shows an Al-Qaeda linked al-shabaab recruits in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu, following their graduation.
- Al-Shabaab gives telecom companies 15 days to shut down the Internet or face attacks
- The terror group regularly uses the Internet, and has a major presence on social media
- "We will not allow our citizens to be deprived of Internet access," interior minister says
(CNN) -- Somalia warned telecommunications companies Saturday not to comply with an Islamist terror group's order to shut down the Internet nationwide.
Al-Shabaab, the rebel group behind years of chaos and violence in the nation, banned the use of the Internet this week. It gave Internet providers 15 days to comply or face attacks.
But the interior ministry urged companies to disregard the threat.
"The Somali government strongly condemns such acts which show continued brutality and terrorist tactics of intimidation by trying to ban Somalis from using the Internet," minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled said in a statement. "Our constitution guarantees freedom of expression and every citizen has the right to access information without fear."
Main telecommunication companies Hormund and Telsom were not immediately available for comment.
"Al-Shabaab has lost control of the major cities of Somalia and are now trying to terrorize people and stop them using the Internet," the minister said. "We will not allow our citizens to be deprived of Internet access and smartphones."
The terror group is notorious for prohibiting recreational activities, and has banned films, dancing and watching soccer in the past. It had also barred foreign aid organizations from southern Somalia, describing them as Western spies and Christian crusaders.
Al-Shabaab regularly uses the Internet. It has a major presence on social media, and posted the threat on its Facebook page.
The radical Islamist group, which controls parts of Somalia, has said it aims to turn the country into a fundamentalist Islamist state.
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0144 GMT (0944 HKT)
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories