On September 11, 2016, three women bluffed their way into Mombasa’s police station before stabbing an officer, setting off a petrol bomb, and being shot dead in the ensuing firefight. One of the women was wearing a suicide vest that did not detonate. The attack, which has been widely covered in Kenyan media, serves as an excellent test case for the kind of reporting required on issues of extremism and terrorism in Africa, particularly terrorism carried out by women. It was a perfect laboratory to begin bisecting the salience of Africa-centric methodologies of reporting terrorism that I have argued for.
Terrorists rely on publicity and news coverage of their actions, and the kind of reporting we have witnessed in the local and global media time and again in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Kenya and elsewhere, only works to create fear, anxiety and hysteria. That is why it is important to deny terrorists the publicity they seek.