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Museums Lose Vital Computers

The Daily Nation, 17 February 2001

Nairobi - The National Museums of Kenya has lost vital information on the location of its fossils as well as data on protected sites countrywide.

Also lost is information on the Museum's land matters as well as site registration, which were all contained in two computers stolen last Wednesday from the Museum.

"Both computers have large memories and contain valuable data on site registration, gazetted sites, Museum land matters as well as important information on palaeontological and archaeological locations," a statement from the Museum said.

The statement described the theft, which took place on Wednesday at the Sites and Monuments Department as "unusual".

"The theft is unusual in that the two powerful computers stolen seemed to have been targeted because other computers, printers, scanners and expensive equipment were left untouched," the statement said.

"The intruders gained entry into the Museum compound by cutting a hole through the chain-link fence, broke two windows, stole and rummaged through the office before fleeing unnoticed. They also stole some office curtains which may have been used to wrap the stolen items," the statement added.

The two computers are valued at Sh170,000.

Others item stolen include two laptop computers, valued at Sh80,000, a radio cassette worth Sh2,000, a briefcase and a zip drive valued at Sh1,500 and Sh15,000 respectively.

A CD Writer and a telephone head valued at Sh30,000 and Sh4,000 respectively were also stolen.

The Museum has appealed to the police to increase night patrols in the area to enhance security.

The Museum appealed to anyone who comes across the stolen items to return them because of the vital heritage information they contain, which may be difficult to compile again.

"A reward will be offered to anyone leading to the recovery of the stolen computers," the statement said.

The Museum said no one was injured during the theft and that the matter had been reported to the Parklands Police Station.

The Museum was in the limelight two days ago when the Director General, Dr George Abungu queried the transfer of the "millemmium Man" fossils from the Kenya Museum to France.

But the Director of Community Museums of Kenya, Mr Eustace Gitonga said the government authorised the transfer of the fossil. He said the fossil were transfered to France for scanning and have since been returned.