, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Detectives on Friday arrested 41 foreigners who were in the process of setting up a sophisticated communication centre in a house within Runda Estate in Nairobi.
Nine were women and 32 men, with 22 of them being Chinese and 19 Taiwanese.
Security officers led by the Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro raided the house, where they recovered several communication equipment among them 14 laptops and eight mobile phones among other gadgets.
Muhoro said police are pursuing the owner of the house and a Kenyan who brought them to the country.
“According to their passports, they had been given three-month tourist visas. What they are doing is not in line with tourism,” he said. “We are yet to know what they were up to.”
The first foreigner in the batch arrived in the country on February 18 this year while the latest arrived on April 1, 2016.
Police acted on a tip off from members of the public who had noticed “suspicious activities going on within the compound hosting them.”
“We are contemplating possibly deporting them but it is a decision that will be taken.”
According to neighbors, the group largely remained indoors during the day and would go out at night for shopping.
It is not clear what they intended to do, but police have described the activities going on in the house as “very dangerous.”
According to a detective privy to the ongoing probe, the suspects were setting up a command centre in one of the rooms which they could use to execute their plans.
“Any country is susceptible to cyber crime… I think what we should be focusing on is building our capacity,” Muhoro said. “It is a trans-national crime.”
Detectives from the CID cyber unit are the lead investigators.
A team from the Communications Authority of Kenya is also involved in trying to establish their motive and the target places as well as retrieve information from the gadgets that were recovered.
“This part of transnational crime happening everywhere in the world,” a CA officer told Capital FM News. “Going with gadgets available here, their plans were dangerous but we are going to establish.”
In 2014, a cyber command centre, with ability of disrupting communication systems in the country was found within the same estate.
More than 70 Chinese were arrested after a fire broke out in their rented house, killing one of them.
The Chinese nationals were accused of running a hacking operation and mysterious command centre.
Police had gone to the house to investigate the fire incident when they found the group bundled in one of the rooms that had the communication gadgets.
Thirty seven of those arrested were recently released by a court for lack of evidence.