Africa

Kenya demands CNN apology over 'hotbed of terror' slur

  • 23 July 2015
  • From the section Africa
Media captionWhy are Kenyans so upset at CNN?

Kenya's interior minister has called on US news channel CNN to apologise for calling East Africa a "hotbed of terror" ahead of President Barack Obama's visit on Friday.

It would make an apology "if it was civilised enough", Joseph Nkaissery said at a news conference.

The hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN is trending worldwide as Kenyans condemned CNN, which has not yet commented.

Its report focused on the threat posed by the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group.

Mr Obama was "not just heading to his father's homeland, but to a region that's a hotbed of terror", said the CNN report.

'Soft target'

With its headquarters in neighbouring Somalia, al-Shabab has carried out a spate of attacks in Kenya.

In the worst atrocity, 148 people were killed when it carried out a day-long assault on Garissa University College in April.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Barack Obama is visiting Kenya for the first time as president

Mr Nkaissery said Kenya was at risk of attack like any other country, but this did not turn it into a "hotbed of terror".

"I urge Kenyans to treat the @CNN report with the contempt it deserves," he said, according to a tweet by Kenya's privately owned Daily Nation newspaper.

CNN quoted security analyst Seth Jones as saying that al-Shabab could carry out an attack during Mr Obama's visit.

"Security for the president is likely to be very significant and that means what Al-Shabaab is likely to do, based on what it has done very recently, is go for a soft target," he said.

Media captionBBC Pop Up looks at Kenya's vibrant Twitter community

On Twitter, Kenyans criticised the report.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

On Wednesday, Kenya's civil aviation authority said the East African state's airspace would be shut for a 50-minute window ahead of Mr Obama's arrival in the capital Nairobi.

A ban on planes flying lower than 20,000 feet will remain in place in Nairobi for the duration of Mr Obama's three-day visit, it added.

The US issued a travel warning for Kenya in July ahead of the visit.

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