The Central African Republic said it has banned mobile phone text messages in a bid to restore security and prevent any further SMS calls for a general strike in the war torn country.

"The use of any SMS by all mobile phone subscribers is suspended from Monday June 2, 2014, until further notice," the telecommunications ministry said in a letter to mobile phone operators, according to AFP.

Cell phone users who try to send a text get the reply: "SMS not allowed."

The ministry said the decision to ban text messaging was made by CAR prime minister Andre Nzapayeke, after calls for a general strike were made via SMS, following attacks in the capital Bangui.

The country was plunged into civil war after the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize last year.

According to Reuters, an organisation called Collectif Centrafrique Debout had been sending text messages asking people in Bangui to stay home until a complete disarmament of militiamen had taken place.

Nzapayeke urged people to return to work.

A government source said the suspension of text messages would last "for several days".


The CAR conflict has pitted Muslim Seleka forces against Christian Anti-Balaka militias following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim.

The two warring factions have engaged in tit-for-tat violence that has resulted in more than 2,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of displacements.

Following months of fighting, Djotodia resigned, accused by many of being unable to halt the conflict.

The brutal ethnic cleansing has been strongly condemned by several NGOs.

A UN humanitarian official has warned against the risk of genocide as the conflict "has all the elements that we have seen elsewhere, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia".

Amnesty International has accused peacekeepers of failing to prevent the conflict, while the international war crimes prosecutor has opened an investigation on war crimes.

Some 8,000 African troops and 2,000 French troops are currently trying to quell the fighting.