June 23 (UPI) -- An internet shutdown in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine State is drawing concern from activists who spoke to an international news service.
"The shutdown is deeply concerning -- not least as it's taking place in an area where access for journalists and humanitarian workers is heavily restricted," Haigh said.
The mobile internet shutdown began on Friday and hit nine townships. Calls and texts can still be sent, but communication through mobile apps has been blocked, according to the report.
Companies in Myanmar are requesting an explanation.
Norwegian firm Telenor Myanmar has asked for the reasons for the shutdown.
"Freedom of expression through access to telecoms services should be maintained for humanitarian purposes, especially during times of conflict," Telenor Myanmar had said.
The shutdown came a day before a Myanmar navy vessel located north of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, was attacked, according to The National.
The Arakan Army, a group of insurgents, claimed responsibility.
The group has clashed with Burmese security forces, and are also antagonistic toward the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. They have accused the group of terrorism.
The U.S. Congress has been building a response to the slaying of Rohingya in Myanmar with a bipartisan bill to impose sanctions on the Myanmar military.
The Burma United through Rigorous Military Accountability Act would ban U.S. military assistance to Burma until reforms take place, the Daily Star of Bangladesh reported.
The mass exodus of Rohingya began after the Myanmar military responded to an initial attack from a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on Aug. 25, 2017.
Stories of mass violence shook the world in recent years but the Rohingya have been the target of persecution before, including in 1978 and 1992, when there were other mass extrusions of the population.
Violence forced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee across the border.
The Rakhine, who make up the Arakan Army, share similar culture with Rohingya, but traditions are becoming increasingly divided.