<p>Ethiopia’s prime minister says that if deadly unrest in the country continues with online incitement, internet in the country could be cut off “forever.”</p> <p>Abiy Ahmed’s press conference on Thursday came after the assassination of the East African nation’s army chief and a regional coup attempt in recent weeks.</p> <p>“For sake of national security, internet and social media could be blocked any time necessary,” Abiy is quoted to have said in his media briefing on Thursday, the first since the assassination incidents of June 22.</p> <p>“As long as it is deemed necessary to save lives and prevent property damages, the internet would be closed permanently, let alone for a week.”</p> <p>The prime minister has been praised for reforms that include freeing political prisoners and ending a state of emergency, but internet shutdowns amid the unrest have worried many Ethiopians. One came during national exams.</p> <p>Abiy said Ethiopia wants the internet to help drive development but warned that it is “neither water nor air.”</p> <p>The country is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and has the continent’s second-largest population.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We shut the internet down to save lives,Internet services is not water or air that we breath, if we found enough reason to cut we will cut it across the country. Said PM Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. In his Media briefing. <a href="https://t.co/RHbeLKFnbk">pic.twitter.com/RHbeLKFnbk</a></p>— <span class="caps">SDM</span> (@SDM97688235) <a href="https://twitter.com/SDM97688235/status/1156950633297207298?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 1, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><strong><em>AP</em></strong></p>
As long as it is deemed necessary to save lives and prevent property damages, the internet would be closed permanently, let alone for a week.