Violence has disrupted phone, Internet services in Sudan, making handwritten letters only means of communication
It has never crossed the mind of Ezz El-Din Dahab that he will use handwritten letters to communicate with his relatives in war-torn Sudan.
“Handwritten letters are the only available means of communication amid the current war in Sudan,” Dahab told Anadolu. Sudan has slipped into violence since April amid deadly clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.
The violence has totally disrupted the phone and Internet services in several areas in the country, leaving residents with no other option but to use handwritten letters for communication.
Amid the violence, Sudanese now use bus drivers as postmen to transport their letters to families in other cities.
“The killing machine that claimed thousands of lives in Sudan have numbed the people here,” Dahab said.
Since the outbreak of violence in Sudan, thousands have been killed and more than seven million displaced, especially in Khartoum and Darfur state, according to UN figures. Several cease-fire agreements brokered by Saudi and US mediators between the warring rivals had failed to end violence in the country.
Dahab said the communication networks in Sudan, especially the western Darfur region, are already poor.
“Several areas in Darfur are not covered by the communication networks,” he said.
“Using handwritten letters for communication is no surprise to anyone amid the current circumstances,” he added.
Last month, the United Nations said 60 people were killed and around 50,000 displaced as a result of clashes between the army and the RSF in Nyala city, the provincial capital of South Darfur.
According to the international organization, electricity and water networks are no longer working well in the city amid the ongoing violence.
As the armed clashes continued, communication has become even more difficult, particularly in Darfur, a region inhabited by about a quarter of Sudan’s population of 48 million.
Citizens usually arrive at travel offices between large cities to entrust their handwritten letters to reach their destination according to security conditions on the roads linking cities.
Amna Musa, 36, a resident in the city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur State, was also forced to send letters to check on her family in Nyala city.
“Since the Internet service stopped, I was forced to communicate with my family in Nyala via handwritten letters,” Musa told Anadolu.
Nyala was the target of random bombing that affected the communication networks, according to Musa.
“We couldn’t get news from our beloved ones in the city,” Musa said. “Those were horrible times,” she added.
“I sent a handwritten letter over the past few days to my family and I am waiting for a response,” Musa said.
“With the current situation, we didn’t find any better option for communication,” she added.
Adam Abdullah, the owner of a travel bus office, said people resort to handwritten letters to check on their relatives “ever since the violence affected the network cables.”
“We deliver letters to their destination then receive written responses to return them again in exchange for a fee,” he added.