Rwandan President Paul Kagame has hit back at allegations that he spied on opponents through their phones, saying the technology needed to do so is too expensive.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Kigali on Friday, Mr Kagame said he wished he could afford the technology “to know more” about his enemies.
A Rwandan exile living in the UK told the BBC last week that he believed he was a victim of a WhatsApp hack.
Faustin Rukundo said he and fellow members of the Rwanda National Congress – a group opposing the Rwandan government – were targeted via the messaging service.
Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, confirmed that he was targeted.
WhatsApp has accused Israeli company NSO Group of sending malware to some 1,400 mobile phones for the purposes of surveillance. Its Pegasus spyware can remotely and covertly extract valuable intelligence from mobile devices, by sharing all phone activity – including communications and location data – with the attacker.
A number of the people targeted were said to be from Rwanda.
NSO Group has denied any wrongdoing, saying its Pegasus spyware has only been sold to vetted customers.
Find out more about the WhatsApp hack:
- WhatsApp sues Israeli firm over phone hacking claims
- WhatsApp discovers ‘targeted’ surveillance attack