Kenyans sleepless over ‘brain damage’ phone calls

By Mark Oloo (Nairobi) – Mobile phone users in Kenya are a worried lot following rumours that receiving calls from certain callers causes brain haemorrhage.

The rumours started yesterday in the capital Nairobi, throwing telephone communication in the East African country in a spin.

The fears were heightened by a series of text messages widely circulated, alleging some 27 people had died between yesterday and today, after receiving calls from the said numbers.

The text messages said the numbers appear red on the screen and have numerous digits of 6 and 8, with an unfamiliar prefix.

But yesterday, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) dismissed the claims and said: “The alleged hemorrhage due to high frequency has no technical basis whatsoever.”

In a statement released in Nairobi today, CCK said: “Upon analysis of the messages, the commission has established the warnings are a hoax generated by unscrupulous people bent on causing fear and despondency among members of the public.”

A mobile phone user Sajni Jakanjira said he received a phone call from his brother, warning him against picking calls from unfamiliar numbers. “I don’t really know the truth but I have been asked to take precaution,” he said.

Michael Joseph, the CEO of Kenya’s largest mobile service provider Safaricom was also quick to dismiss the claims. He urged Kenyans to ignore the rumours.