Killer Calling Hoax
Many mobile phone users in Kakuma panicked after they received false warning messages.
Mobile phone users have been told to ignore SMS and email messages warning against calls from certain strong numbers because it would kill.
The messages—which are a hoax—warn users that 27 people have died after answering death calls that emit high frequent rays causing brain hemorrhage and death. The Communication Department of Kenya said the messages were a hoax. According to the Daily Nation newspaper on September 2, 2010: “Have you got a call or an SMS from a friend warning against some certain numbers referred to as causing death?” Numbers are coming to the subscribers in different colors: Red, Blue, Green and ‘Private or Call’ indicating no numbers visible on the mobile screen and causing quick death are as listed: 7888308001, 9316048121, 9876266211, 9888854137, and 9876715587.
The listed numbers are non–existent as mobile, fixed or international calls, yet subscribers have received them in their mobiles, as refugees have complained to KANERE journalists. “It was after receiving a call that I began vomiting blood, the blood also started coming through my nose and mouth,” said Santo, a Sudanese refugee in an interview after he was admitted at the main Refugee hospital on 4th September 2010 and discharged after 5 days in the Hospital. The medical personnel stated that no death cases were received at the IRC hospital.
The message started circulating Tuesday night, August 31, and continued until September 3, 2010. It sent thousands of refugees and local Kenyans into great panic. Despite the citation from the Kenyan Communication Department, mobile users still fear the so-called rumors. “I have family and friends abroad and I still cannot answer any calls that are strange or coming as private or just calling because others were doing the same and I cannot risk dying simply,” said Mohamed, a Somali living in Kakuma One.
In the refugee camp people had different opinions regarding the warning. Some people stated that a ghostly red number was appearing on the mobile and killing people, while others claimed that mobiles explode upon answering or even rejecting the killers’ calls. “The Communication Commission of Kenya said mobile phones cannot emit the sound frequencies that can cause immediate physical injury or death,” stated the Daily Nation Magazine in an attempt to counter the rumors. “I have received a call with a number of 13 digits and red in color. I threw the mobile down and run away,” said Abdi Chiro, an Ethiopian, He adds that he saw someone who received a call on his mobile but didn’t answer it due to fear.
In the camp, many refugees switched off their mobile phones for over a week, fearing death. In an interview with Kakuma police officers, an officer commanding the station stated that this thing might be there but we could not establish the cause. “However, no death cases were seen and we don’t have it in our records,” said the police officer.
Universal TV, based in Nairobi, offered a statement in response to public rumors that two persons were admitted to a hospital in Nairobi following the receipt of killers’ calls, adding that these persons experienced bleeding through the mouth and nose on September 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm local time. It was a breaking news highlight, but the status of the hoax reports remains unclear.
According to a reliable source, the hoax has since done the rounds in Ghana, India and Middle East countries.