Kenya’s largest mobile phone company Safaricom is building a Ksh 14.9 billion ($172 million) security communications system geared for fighting terrorism in the East African country’s government.
Reports have emerged that Safaricom is set to be mandated with the task of creating the system that will link all security agencies in the country, allowing them to share information in real time.
The system is said to include ultra-high definition CCTV spy cameras with facial recognition capabilities to allow police track suspects.
To kick off the project, the government plans to also allocate Safaricom with spectrum worth Ksh 7 billion in the first half of the project. With this spectrum, Safaricom will build a high speed 4G network to be exclusively used by the police.
Safaricom is also set to supply the police with sophisticated radio communications gadgets fitted with SIM cards and cameras to be used in capturing images at crime scenes.
These images can then be sent in real-time to the security database for analysis of evidence.
Reports indicate a committee headed by Kenya’s interior principal secretary, Mutea Iringo , had already evaluated the system and gave Safaricom the green light to make a presentation on how the system works to the president and top security heads.
The system will first be rolled out in Nairobi before the end of this year, while Mombasa is set to be covered in 18 to 24 months.
Speaking to ITWeb Africa, Wesley Moenga, an expert and manager at security services firm, DOSA Kenya, said; “For a long time, Kenya has lagged behind technologically in terms of being equipped to fight the current generation of tech-savvy criminals.”
“Lack of cross-communication between the different security agencies have made the country an easy target, yet our intelligence agencies have sufficient information to silence these culprits,” Moenga added.
“I believe that if they employ maximum usage of the system, Kenya will be made a safer place,” he said.
Kenya has witnessed a string of terror attacks since the launch of ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ in Somalia by the Kenyan military back in 2011. The government was responding to the increasing attacks that were perpetuated by Somali militia group, al Shabaab.
Despite having silenced the group in Somalia, the militia has resorted to terrorist actions within Kenya, with the most notable one being last year’s attack at Westgate shopping mall that saw over 60 people shot dead and hundreds of others severely injured.