Text messages in the Central African Republic are now considered a security threat and their use has been suspended, the telecommunications ministry said Tuesday.
Mobile phone users in the Central African Republic who try to send text messages are getting the response: "SMS not allowed".
"The use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice," the ministry said in a letter to mobile phone operators in the conflict-torn country.
It said the decision was made by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke. Since last week there has been a resurge of violence in the capital Bangui, as well as a call for a general strike relayed by SMS in the past few days.
Nzapayeke on Sunday had made an appeal for people to return to work in Bangui following several days of protests that had paralysed the capital.
A source in the government told AFP the suspension of text messages would last "for several days".
When AFP in Bangui tried to send a text, that message appeared: "SMS not allowed".
The deeply impoverished, majority Christian country has been struggling to restore security in the face of relentless tit-for-tat attacks between Christian vigilante groups and mostly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels who seized control in a coup last year but were forced from power in January.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]