#PegasusProject - African Leaders on Potential Spyware List

The phone numbers for 14 heads of state, including South African president Cyril Ramaphosa; Egyptian prime minister Mostafa Madboulyas; the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI; former Moroccan prime minister Saad-Eddine El Ohtmani; and former Ugandan prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda were selected as people of interest by clients of Israeli spyware company NSO Group, according to a Washington Post report. NSO Group's spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale, according to a major investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets.

The Pegasus Project is a collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organisations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the spyware.

The names of the 14 heads of state include France's Emmanuel Macron and Pakistan's Imran Khan. The list containing their names also contained phone numbers for more than 600 government officials and politicians from 34 countries.

The South African presidency has declined to comment on the claims.

NSO has denied that Macron and Mohammed VI ever appeared on a target list for clients. The company insists that its spyware is only intended for use against terrorists and serious criminals and has reiterated that it will "investigate all credible claims of misuse" and "take strong action" where such allegations prove correct.

InFocus

(file photo)

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