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Kenyan official dismisses Reuters report on Chinese hack as 'propaganda'

Man holds laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A senior Kenyan security official on Thursday dismissed as "propaganda" a Reuters report which detailed a years-long series of hacks by Chinese cyber spies against the East African country's government.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Chinese hackers carried out a series of digital intrusions against key Kenyan ministries and state institutions, according to three sources, cybersecurity research reports and Reuters' own analysis of technical data related to the hacks.

Two of the sources assessed the hacks to be aimed, at least in part, at gaining information on debt Kenya owed to Beijing.

"The article should be viewed as sponsored propaganda," Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Raymond Omollo said in a written statement that did not provide evidence to support his claims.

"The wide circulation and the alacrity for its attribution by other foreign media with well-known inclinations further hint at a choreographed and concerted attack against Kenya's sovereignty," he added.

A Reuters spokesperson said, “We stand by our story.”

China provided Kenya with its government network infrastructure, and Omollo said that: "It is reasonable, therefore, to contemplate that if the country of origin desired to infiltrate the same systems it has helped install, it would unlikely engage third-party hackers."

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Anna Driver; Writing by James Pearson)