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African internet outage was caused by subsea cable break, MainOne says

(Reuters) - West African data center and connectivity provider MainOne said on Friday that an internet outage that hit West and Central Africa earlier this week was caused by a break in its submarine cable system.

MainOne, which is owned by data center operator Equinix, said that an "external incident" resulted in a cut to its cable system in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore Cote D'Ivoire along the coast of West Africa. It ruled out human activity as a cause.

The major internet outage affected West and Central Africa on Thursday, with operators of multiple subsea cables reporting failures.

"Our preliminary analysis would suggest some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable", MainOne said, adding it would obtain more data when the cable is retrieved during repair.

"Given the distance from land, and the cable depth of about 3 kms (1.86 miles) at the point of fault, any kind of human activity – ship anchors, fishing, drilling etc has been immediately ruled out," it said.

MainOne has a presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire, according to its website.

(Reporting by Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)