Kenyan police probe phones used in Nairobi mall massacre

The police questioned the mobile-phone companies over SIM cards acquired by the Al-Shabab gunmen.

Topics: Bloomberg, al-Shabab, mobile phones, Kenyan mall massacre, Nairobi, ,

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Kenyan police questioned the chief executive officer of Safaricom Ltd. and the heads of two other mobile-phone companies as authorities probe the phone numbers used by gunmen who attacked a Nairobi mall last month.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, Airtel Kenya Ltd.’s Shivan Bhargava and Telkom Kenya Ltd.’s Mickael Ghossein filed statements today with the police on their companies’ compliance with laws on SIM-card registration, they said in a joint statement handed to reporters in the capital. All SIM cards issued by the companies have been registered, they said.

“All four operators have gone over and above what is required by law by adhering to international standards of mobile-systems security,” they said. “We wish to assure the public and the government that we are in full compliance with the law and will continue working together with the various regulators and law enforcement agencies in the execution of their public duty.”

The CEOs recording of statements coincides with police efforts to trace phone numbers used by Islamist militants who attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21, according to the Daily Nation, a Nairobi-based newspaper. At least 67 civilians and security forces were killed in the attack, while five gunmen also died.

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“We have no information with regard to the investigation on terrorism,” Nzioka Waita, director of corporate affairs at Safaricom, said at a briefing by the chief executive officers.

The Communications Commission of Kenya, the industry regulator, said yesterday it had been notified that some mobile operators or their agents were selling SIM cards and activating them without registering subscribers, in breach of Kenyan law.

Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Madhur Taneja has not yet been asked to file a statement with the police, he said during the briefing.

–Editors: Paul Richardson, Sarah McGregor

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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