Eight Kenyans, three Rwandans and one Ugandan national are among 12 people that have been nabbed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in connection with a hacking attempt targeted at clients’ accounts at Rwanda’s Equity Bank.
The 12 “internet desperados” were arrested on October 26 and even as their names are still being withheld pending the conclusion of investigations, they will all appear in court next week. And that’s according to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) spokesperson, Marie Michelle Umuhoza.
“All the suspects were arrested on Friday, October 26, and their dossiers have been forwarded to the prosecution authority. It was an organised group of criminals and they were arrested while in the process of hacking into Equity Bank accounts. We cannot provide more details as investigations continue,” Umuhoza told The EastAfrican.
“We want to commend all those who shared information that led to the arrest of the suspects and urge the public to remain vigilant and always share information that can be used to prevent crime,” she added.
Umuhoza also said the arrest was kept under wraps initially because “investigations were still being conducted while they were still under detention.”
In any case, it was revealed that the RIB notified the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately after the arrest.
However, the RIB says immediately after their arrest, they informed the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, though there has been no indication from the ministry with regards to whether the governments of the foreign nationals who were arrested have been contacted.
“I am out of the country and cannot comment on the matter at the moment but procedure determines that we contact the concerned countries in such cases,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe, State Minister in charge of the East African Community.
Hannington Namara, CEO of Equity Bank revealed that the bank had cooperated with the investigators throughout the process and that the hackers were nabbed before they were able to break into the bank’s systems.
“We have a robust security system that the hackers failed to bypass. Our clients were not affected and we assure the public that the system is strong enough against such attacks,” he said.
Rwanda has been witnessing a sort of spurt in cybercrimes in recent times. There were only 47 reported cases in 2017 but that figure rose to 113 in 2018.
The recently apprehended suspects are believed to have previously orchestrated similar hacks in both Kenya and Uganda and gotten away with it. But unknown to them, the RIB was on their trail and the Bureau nabbed them once they got started with a similar hack in Rwanda.
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