Congo orders internet slowdown to restrict social media: telecoms source

FILE PHOTO: Military police officers ride on a truck as they patrol the streets of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese authorities ordered internet capacity be slowed down so that it cannot be used to transmit images via social media, a senior telecoms official based in Kinshasa said.

The move comes as opposition is growing to President Joseph Kabila, who refused to step down when his mandate expires in December, with nationwide strikes planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Monday, clashes between Congolese security forces and anti-government sect Bundu dia Kongo killed at least 14 people.

“In order to prevent the exchange of abusive images via social media by your subscribers, I ask you to ... take technical measures to restrict to a minimum the capacity to transmit images,” post and telecoms chief regulator Oscar Manikunda Musata said in a signed letter seen by Reuters.

He listed social media he wanted the measure to target, including Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter.

Reporting by Patient Ligodi; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Louise Ireland