In Congo 48-hour shutdown of Internet, telephone services for presidential election

Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou wrote telecom companies urging the shut-down of telephone, Internet and SMS services for 48 hours for what he cited as "reasons of security and national safety".

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Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi at Carthage Palace in Tunis January 22, 2015. Sassou Nguesso is in Tunisia on a two-day visit. REUTERS/Anis Mili play Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi at Carthage Palace in Tunis January 22, 2015. Sassou Nguesso is in Tunisia on a two-day visit. REUTERS/Anis Mili

According to media reports, there is a 48-hour black out of all telephone, Internet, and SMS services in Congo due to ongoing presidential elections going on in the country.

Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou wrote telecom companies urging the shut-down of telephone, Internet and SMS services for 48 hours for what he cited as "reasons of security and national safety".

A police officer stands guard in front of a store in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rey Byhre play A police officer stands guard in front of a store in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rey Byhre

 

Long-serving leader Denis Sassou Nguesso is heavily favored to win the polls, according to an Innovation Village report.

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Al-Jazeera reports that tensions have been high in Congo since October 2015, when a public referendum supported removing a two-term limit that would have kept Nguesso from power.

The vote also removed the 70-year age limit for the presidency - which could force on of Africa's longest serving presidents to step down.

Youths play soccer in the rain at the Ndako ya Biso (Our House) refugee centre for street children in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, February 5, 2016. Picture taken February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Ross play Youths play soccer in the rain at the Ndako ya Biso (Our House) refugee centre for street children in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, February 5, 2016. Picture taken February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Ross (Reuters)

 

The changes had a 94.3 percent approval via a referendum dubbed a "constitutional coup" by the opposition.

Incumbent Nguesso says he has no doubt that he will defeat his eight rivals, referring to election day as a "penalty kick and then victory".