The Somali government on Sunday ordered the ban on access to the digital platforms TikTok, Telegram and 1XBET, stressing that they are used by “terrorists” for propaganda purposes.

The decision comes as the second phase of the Somali army’s offensive against the Shebaab (“Youth”) jihadists, who have been waging a bloody guerrilla war against the federal government in Mogadishu for more than fifteen years, is reportedly approaching.

In its statement, the Ministry of Communications and Technology said it had instructed internet access providers to block access to all three platforms by August 24 at the latest, warning they would face legal action if they did not comply. He did not specify what nature.

The ministry argued that the platforms TikTok, Telegram and 1XBET are used by “terrorists” and organizations that “spread immorality”, in order to publish “violent images and videos” and to “mislead the [κοινή] opinion”.

Their exclusion will allow, according to the ministry, to “accelerate the war (…) against the terrorists who are shedding the blood of the Somali people”.

Since August 2022, the Somali military has been engaged in an operation against Al-Shabaab, an organization that pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda, backed by armed tribal groups, African Union ground forces and US air support.

In 2011, Shebab fighters were driven out of the capital Mogadishu, but remain deeply entrenched in vast rural areas in the province, from where they continue to launch attacks against military and civilian targets.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has vowed to rid the country of armed Islamist factions and is expected to soon announce the second phase of a large-scale military operation against al-Shabaab in the southern part of the country.