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Yes, Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations dismissed terror alert on social media as fake

“Document doing rounds on social media of impending terror attacks is fake,” reads a Facebook post by Citizen TV Kenya.

“DCI urges members of the public to stop spreading fake news.” The DCI is Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the police arm responsible for investigating crime.

The post links to the Citizen TV website, which carries a 12 January 2020 article headlined: “DCI dismisses ‘terror alert’ circulating on social media as fake”.

According to the article, the fake terror alert identifies “a number of installations, social and worship places” as targets.

“The document was alleged to have been issued by the Nairobi Area Region Criminal Investigations officer (RCIO) and signed by Mr Ben Nyakwaka,” the article says.

But Citizen TV’s Facebook post has, in turn, been flagged as false by the social network’s fact-checking system.

Did the DCI dismiss the terror alert as fake? We checked.

‘This is a FAKE document’

On 12 January, the DCI posted this warning on its official Twitter account: “Our attention has been drawn to a security brief allegedly from the office of the RCIO Nairobi Area and signed by Mr Ben Nyakwaka. It is circulating on social media. It names a number of installations, social and worship places and purports to issue security alert.”

In a second tweet, it said: “We wish to confirm that this is a FAKE document. The casual draft is evident for such information if it was genuine at all. It is an open document marked for ‘ALL’. No such classified document is ever dispatched from any authoritative office in this style and design.”

And the third tweet in the thread added: “The office of the Nairobi RCIO is not authorized or have capacity to issue such information. There are authorities that deal & tasked with such operations & are best placed to issue such alerts. We urge the public to ignore it with the contempt it deserves.” – Grace Gichuhi


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