Kenyans ridicule US network CNN on Twitter for 'hotbed of terror' report

'Obama is not just heading to his father's homeland, but to a hotbed of terror'

An American news network’s report labelling Kenya a “hotbed of terror” ahead of the US President’s visit has sparked ridicule on Twitter.

“President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father's homeland, but to a hotbed of terror,” the CNN report read, raising concerns about al-Qaeda affiliated terror group al-Shabaab.

The militants are based in neighbouring Somalia but have crossed the border for terror attacks including the massacre at Garissa University College that killed 152 people in April and the Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013.

The headline of the story sparked criticism


US security officials have insisted there is no risk to the President, who is due to arrive tomorrow for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Mr Obama’s arrival has been highly anticipated by many Kenyans, who greeted CNN’s headline - “Security fears as Obama heads to terror hotbed” – with disbelief and anger.

People have been using the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN – which has appeared in 75,000 tweets in the past day alone - to criticise the US network and demand an apology.

Mama Sarah Obama’s Road in Kogelo, which is named after Barack Obama’s step-grandmother


Others posts were slightly more sarcastic.

As the criticism continued on Twitter today, CNN changed the headline to refer only to unspecified “security concerns”, with an editor’s note below reading: “The headline and lead of this article has been recast to indicate the terror threat is a regional one.”

#SomeoneTellCNN first surfaced in March 2012, when CNN’s segment on a bus station bombing sparked anger for a banner reading “Violence in Kenya”.

Almost exactly a year later, the trend resurfaced to lampoon a report called “Kenyans Armed and Ready to Vote” militias allegedly preparing for conflict ahead of elections.

Nanjala Nyabola, a Kenyan writer and political analyst, told Al Jazeera at the time that people were angered at their “national narrative being hijacked, either by criminals looking for trouble or foreign journalists determined to portray us as a nation of criminals itching for a fight”.