- Isiolo leaders accuse media of sensationalising and negatively focusing on county in wake of Dusit hotel complex attack.
- While acknowledging that a number of local youths were lured into the Al-Shabaab group, the leaders say the problem is national rather than local.
- The leaders are now demanding apology from a television station for interviewing a returnee who claimed the county is a terrorist.
Isiolo leaders and security officials have been angered by reports profiling the county as an Al-Shabaab hub, saying the narrative is hurting the local economy and tainting the devolve unit’s image.
Speaking at Isiolo Girls High School on Saturday over the 100 per cent transition policy to secondary schools, the leaders said the county is not a centre for terrorists.
Led by the county’s deputy governor Abdi Issa, Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, Isiolo North MP Hassan Oda, County Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa and County Commissioner John Ondego, they said the negative profiling is scaring away investors and tourists.
They said the media has negatively focused and sensationalised the issue of radicalisation, a problem they maintain is national rather than local.
But the leaders acknowledged that a number of local youths were lured into joining Somalia’s Al-Shabaab terror group even though those involved in terrorist activities have also been drawn from other counties.
Mr Ondego said no Isiolo youth has crossed over to Somalia last year, a positive indication that anti-radicalisation campaigns were finally bearing fruit.
“We agree that our children have been affected but we cannot profile Isiolo as an Al-Shabaab hub since the perception is killing our economy,” said Senator Dullo.
Last year, a county action plan on countering violent extremism was launched with security officers backing use of hard and soft approaches to countering radicalisation