The Minister of Police, Hon. Māteni Tapueluelu said there appeared to be a “human factor” in the damage to the undersea cable that cut Tonga’s internet connection.
Hon. Tapueluelu said an initial report has been submitted to Police which included photos taken at the site where damage to the international and domestic submarine internet cables was located.
Tonga Cable director Piveni Piukala previously told Kaniva news he could not rule out foul play as the reason for the damage.
Hon. Tapueluelu said the ropes which were found tied to the damaged parts of the cables appeared to show the knots were ones that were usually employed only by seamen or fire fighters.
Hon. Tapueluelu, who is also the Minister of Fire and Emergency Services, said this meant the knot was believed to have been made by someone who had been trained on how to tie that particular type of knot.
Speaking to Television Tonga this week, Hon Tapueluelu said, he had been advised by technical experts on the knot and how it has been tied.
He said Police were at the stage of preliminary inquiry to decide whether the damage had been caused by criminal activity.
He said the government wanted to know the cause and if it was man-made it had to be stopped.
An independent committee has been set up by the Cabinet to investigate the cause of damage which has cut Tonga from the outside world in two weeks last month.
Tonga’s Chief Secretary Edgar Cocker told Kaniva news the committee’s mandate included looking at all possible scenario which might have led to the internet blackout.
The committee included the Minister of Police, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for MEIDECC and some experts from related fields.
As we reported earlier, damage to the cable wiped out internet access almost entirely and meant people could not make international phone calls.
Limited access was restored via satellite, but authorities blocked most people from using social media like Facebook to preserve precious bandwidth until repairs to the international cable were completed.
Last month government spokesperson, Lopeti Senituli, said the government had been given an understanding there was almost no chance of the cable failing.
“When we hooked up to this optic fibre cable we were given the guarantee that the chances of a disconnection, or an accidental disconnection, was 00.0011, so it was virtually non-existent,” Senituli told Radio New Zealand.
The main points
- The Minister of Police, Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu said there appeared to be a “human factor” in the damage to the undersea cable that cut Tonga’s internet connection.
- Hon. Taueluelu said an initial report has been submitted to Police which included photos taken at the site where damage to the international and domestic submarine internet cables was located.
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