Sunday 21 January 2018

Kenya demands CNN apologise for 'hotbed of terror' slur ahead of Obama visit

President Barack Obama will be the first US President to visit Kenya
President Barack Obama will be the first US President to visit Kenya

David Kearns

Kenya has called on US news channel CNN to apologise for calling the East African country a "hotbed of terror" ahead of President Barack Obama's visit.

At a news conference held yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said “[CNN] would make an apology if it was civilised enough” following widespread backlash against a report by the news network were it described Kenya as a "hotbed of terror”.

"I urge Kenyans to treat the @CNN report with the contempt it deserves," he said.

President Obama’s trip to Kenya later today will be the first time a sitting US President has visited  the East African country.

In an article about President Obama's visit to the African nation, CNN described the country as a "hotbed of terror".

“President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father's homeland, but to a hotbed of terror," the news network said, before speaking to a security analyst who predicted that a terrorism attack was likely “given that the country is a soft target.”

CNN has since changed the headline from 'Obama's trip to a terror hotbed' to 'Obama's trip raises security concerns'.

The focus of the report was the threat posed by the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group, who in April killed 148 people in a day-long assault on the Garissa University College in northern Kenya.

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

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

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.

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