“Emergent threats, such as terrorism, climate change, and illegal exploitation of natural resources, equally demand vigilance and decisive action. The good news is that the African Union and its member nations are resolved to take the initiative tackling these problems, and are in fact making progress.”
–John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana
Statement, 62nd UN General Assembly; New York
September 25, 2007
Al-Qa’ida (AQ) operatives in East Africa and al-Shabaab militants in Somalia continued to pose the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region. The late 2006 defeat of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) as a governing force in Mogadishu by Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, and the ensuing insurgency that engulfed Mogadishu and parts of south central Somalia for the remainder of the year continued to make Somalia a permissive operating environment and a potential safe haven for both Somali and foreign terrorists already in the region. Somalia remains a concern, as its unsecured borders and continued political instability provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or organization. AQ is likely to keep making common cause with cells of Somali extremists in an attempt to disrupt international peacemaking efforts in Somalia.
There were few significant international terrorist incidents in Africa, but civil conflict, ethnic violence, and activity amongst domestic terrorist groups continued in a number of countries. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) officially merged with AQ in September 2006 and subsequently, in early 2007, changed its name to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This event signaled the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the threats posed in the region. The huge swath of largely open territory in the Sahel provides AQIM with an important base for smuggling, logistics, recruiting, and training fighters. AQIM focused its major attacks on Algeria, but continued to operate in the Sahel region, crossing difficult-to-patrol borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad to recruit extremists within the region for training and terrorist operations in the Trans-Sahara and, possibly, for operations outside the region.
Hizballah continued to engage in fundraising activities in Africa, particularly in West Africa, but did not engage in any terrorist attacks within the region.
Many African governments improved their cooperation and strengthened their counterterrorism efforts. Both the African Union (AU) and African regional organizations continued initiatives to improve counterterrorism cooperation and information sharing.
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy to combat violent extremism and defeat terrorist organizations by strengthening individual-country and regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security and intelligence organizations, promoting democratic governance, and discrediting terrorist ideology. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the trans-Sahara, and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) .
TSCTP was developed as a follow-on to the Pan-Sahel Initiative, which focused solely on the Sahel. Ongoing concern that extremists continued to seek to create safe havens and support networks in the Maghreb and Sahel, as well as recognition that AQ and others were seeking to impose radical ideologies on traditionally moderate Muslim populations in the region highlighted the urgency of creating an integrated approach to addressing current threats and preventing conditions that could foster persistent threats in the future.
TSCTP’s main elements include:
The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments including a Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention and a 2004 Plan of Action. The Addis Ababa-based AU Commission provided guidance to its 53 member states and coordinated limited technical assistance to cover member states’ counterterrorism capability gaps.
The Algiers-based African Center for Study and Research in Terrorism (ACSRT) was approved and inaugurated in October 2004 to serve as a think tank, an information collection and dissemination center, and a regional training center. The AU is working with member states to eliminate redundancies between the ACSRT and the Committee on Intelligence and Security Services in Africa (CISSA), which was first established at the AU Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2005. The Department of State and the National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) have collaborated with the AU to run counterterrorism workshops.
In 2005, with Danish funding, the AU hired a consultant to draft a counterterrorism Model Law to serve as a template to assist member states in drafting language to implement counterterrorism commitments. In December 2006, an AU-sponsored group of experts drafted counterterrorism language, which was in the process of being legislated. The group of experts decided to retain options for both broad and specific laws and determined that new legislation was needed to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.
Some AU member states maintained that Africa’s colonial legacy made it difficult to accept a definition of terrorism that excluded an exception for “freedom fighters.” Nonetheless, the AU is on record strongly condemning acts of terrorism.
Although the AU Commission had the strong political will to act as an effective counterterrorism partner, AU staffing remained below requisite levels; consequently, capacity remained relatively weak. The AU created a counterterrorism unit at its Addis Ababa headquarters to coordinate and promote member state counterterrorism efforts more effectively. The AU welcomed technical and financial assistance from international partners/donors to bolster both AU headquarters and ACSRT activities approved by member states.
Angola's borders remained porous and vulnerable to movements of small arms, diamonds, and other sources of terrorist financing. Angola’s high rate of dollar cash flow makes its financial system an attractive site for money laundering. The Government of Angola’s capacity to detect financial crimes is limited, although it did make several high-profile arrests of dollar counterfeiters in 2007. Angola has not signed the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The government's limited law enforcement resources were directed towards border control and stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, which increased exponentially since the 2002 peace treaty ending Angola's protracted civil war. Lack of infrastructure, corruption, and insufficient capacity continued to hinder Angola's border control and law enforcement capabilities.
The Botswana government was cooperative in international counterterrorism efforts. The Botswana government established the National Counter Terrorism Committee to address terrorism issues and weapons of mass destruction. In December, President Festus Mogae signed a law creating a new intelligence agency responsible for domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. The Botswana Defense Force designated a squadron as its counterterrorist unit and sent several officers to IMET-sponsored counterterrorism training.
Terrorists may use Botswana as a transit point due to its porous borders as evidenced by a 2006 report of organized smuggling of immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the number of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants living in Botswana. Individuals suspected of providing financial support to terrorist groups may have business interests in Botswana companies.
The Bank of Botswana lists suspected terrorist assets and keeps all banking institutions in the country informed by circulating an updated list of suspicious accounts. Although there is no Financial Intelligence Unit, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes had a unit that investigated suspicious transactions.
Burkina Faso continued to lack the resources necessary to protect its borders and to monitor movement of terrorists. There was no formal method for tracking movement into and out of the country at border checkpoints, or at either of the country's two commercial airports. Burkina Faso was not a safe haven for any terrorist groups, but had the potential of becoming a safe haven owing to its close proximity to several countries where terrorist groups operate and because its borders are porous, especially in the sparsely populated north.
Despite its lack of resources, Burkina Faso was serious about fighting terrorism, cooperated with the United States where possible, and participated in training, seminars, and exercises, such as the regional Flintlock Exercises held in Mali this past year. The government participated in regional efforts at combating terrorism with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and other international organizations, such as INTERPOL (it participated in an Interpol General Assembly meeting that was held in November). In 2007, Burkina Faso submitted a request to the USG to train their existing, approximately 150-person antiterrorism unit under the President's Security Force.
Burundi’s counterterrorism efforts were hindered by domestic ethnic tension, the unsteadiness of a transitional period after a decade plus of civil war, a lack of mature governmental institutions, considerable corruption, and porous borders that enabled various rebel groups in Tanzania and Eastern Congo to freely enter Burundi. Due to Burundi's small size and overtly Christian identity, it is likely that any radical Muslim influence would be quickly noted and reported to both Burundian government institutions and the international diplomatic community. The Burundi National Police's financial crimes unit was severely crippled by both a lack of resources and trained investigators, resulting in little or no oversight of Burundi's financial community by law enforcement officials, which could be exploited by terrorists for financing terrorism. Transnational criminals, for example, laundered illegal drug money through Burundian front companies.
International terrorism concerns in Comoros focused on Comorian national Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (a.k.a. Harun Fazul), who is suspected of involvement in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. His whereabouts were unknown, but he was believed to have maintained contacts in the Comoros. The Comorian government's security forces had limited resources and training in counterterrorism and maritime security, so the country remained vulnerable to terrorist transit. Comorian police and security forces participated in USG antiterrorism assistance programs and cooperated with the Rewards for Justice Program.
President Sambi, a devout Muslim democratically elected in May 2006, reconfirmed Comoros' rejection of terrorism and, with Comoros' religious leaders, publicly rejected Islamist extremism. In September, military and port officials participated in a USG-hosted Maritime Security Conference in Mombasa, Kenya. President Sambi has sought close partnership with the United States to develop Comoros and to create opportunities for the country's youth. In April, Foreign Minister Jaffar hosted a joint committee to improve bilateral relations, which included counterterrorism cooperation.
The Government of the Union of the Comoros did not provide safe haven to terrorist organizations on the islands of Grande Comore and Moheli. Colonel Mohamed Bacar, former island president of Anjouan and current illegitimate leader, runs his island for personal profit outside the authority of the Union. Among Bacar’s illicit activities were licensing for shell banks. The extent of his dealings and contacts with criminal or terrorist networks in the Indian Ocean Region was unknown.
Cote d'Ivoire has been in the throes of a political-military crisis since 2002, leaving the country politically and, until recently, geographically divided.1 Despite this instability, violence associated with the country’s crisis has not been linked with any international terrorist organizations, and there was little evidence to indicate a threat of terrorist attacks. While some Lebanese private communities living in Cote d'Ivoire were known to be active in donating personal income to Hizballah, it is unlikely that the Government of Cote d'Ivoire supported or subsidized it, although it was likely that it was aware of this.
Djibouti hosted the only military base in Sub-Saharan Africa for United States and Coalition Forces and was one of the most forward-leaning Arab League members supporting ongoing efforts against terrorism. President Ismail Omar Guelleh and many top leaders in Djibouti repeatedly expressed their country's full and unqualified support for the War on Terror.
United States security personnel continued to work closely with Djiboutian counterparts to monitor intelligence and follow up on prospective terrorism-related leads. Although the government's capabilities were limited, Djiboutian counterparts were very proactive, and were highly receptive and responsive to United States requests for cooperation. The Djiboutian National Security Services took extraordinary measures with its limited resources to ensure the safety and security of American citizens, the U.S. embassy, and the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonier.
The Government of Eritrea was not an active partner on counterterrorism programs. The government linked broader cooperation in USG counterterrorism programs to the unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia, publicly stating that cooperation will occur only after the final demarcation of the border. During the March kidnapping of British diplomats in Ethiopia by an ethnic Afari rebel group, the Eritrean government played a role in securing their release.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, designated under both UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and Executive Order 13224, was publicly reported as being in Asmara as recently as November.
The Government of Ethiopia, after conducting a counter offensive in late 2006 in response to threats against its security and in support of the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, battled insurgents and extremists that were formerly affiliated with the Council of Islamic Courts, including the AQ-affiliated al-Shabaab militia. Ethiopian forces provided critical support in the stand up of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force which was also targeted by extremist elements. In addition, Ethiopian forces countered Somali-based extremists who attempted to conduct attacks inside Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s location within the Horn of Africa made it vulnerable to money laundering activities perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations, terrorists and narcotics traffickers. As the economy continued to grow and become more liberalized, federal police investigation sources reported expectations that bank fraud, electronic/computer crimes, and laundering activities would continue to rise. On November 6, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) and the United States Department of the Treasury signed the terms of reference and work plan for a technical assistance package to strengthen Ethiopia’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regimes. The assistance will aid the NBE in establishing a financial intelligence unit and provide training to Ethiopia’s government-owned and private banks.
Ethiopia's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation; was responsible for overall counterterrorism management. Federal and local police counterterrorism capabilities were primarily focused on being able to respond to terrorist incidents. Draft counterterrorism legislation was submitted to Parliament in late 2006, but there was no legislative action in 2007.
Ethiopia was an active participant in AU counterterrorism efforts, served as a focal point for the AU's Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and participated in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.
Following the late 2006 Ethiopian action to remove the radical Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Somalia, Kenyan Ministry of Defense efforts largely prevented the flight of violent extremists across the Somalia-Kenya border. The Kenyan military drastically increased its numbers on the Somalia border, and worked closely with police elements in the region to block CIC forces and associated individuals from infiltrating Kenyan territory. Kenyan security forces apprehended several suspected extremist leaders during these operations. However, human rights organizations criticized the Kenyan government for closing the border and claimed that large numbers of refugees fleeing the fighting were forcibly returned to Somalia. At the same time, the Kenyan government suspended all flights to and from Somalia except for humanitarian aid flights and flights to the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) seat in Baidoa. The Kenyan government ended the suspension in August, but continued to require all flights from Somalia to first stop at Wajir Airport for immigration, customs, and security processing before proceeding to their final destinations in Kenya.
The Government of Kenya did not knowingly provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations. However, Kenya's borders remained porous and vulnerable to movement of potential terrorists as well as small arms and other contraband. Supporters of AQ and other extremist groups were active in the East Africa region. As a result of the continuing conflict in Somalia, many members of these organizations have sought to relocate elsewhere in the region and some were believed to have traveled to Kenya.
Kenya continued to lack the counterterrorism legislation necessary to comply with the UN conventions it has signed. In addition, it was difficult to detain terror suspects and prosecute them effectively under existing laws. The issue of counterterrorism legislation remained highly controversial in Kenya with elements of the press, the human rights community, and Muslim leadership criticizing proposed legislation as anti-Muslim and giving the government too much power to potentially abuse human rights. The Kenyan government wrote a revised draft of the defeated 2003 "Suppression of Terrorism Bill" in 2006, but the new bill was sharply criticized and subsequently did not pass. Progress also stalled on legislation for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The “Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Bill” was submitted in March but the Parliament did not debate it.
Political and bureaucratic resistance remained to the formation of an interagency Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Senior Kenyan officials sharply criticized the U.S. Public Announcement regarding the possibility of a terrorist threat to the Cross-Country World Championships in Mombasa in March, seeing this as an unfriendly act and a threat to the country’s vital tourism industry.
Despite limited resources, inadequately trained personnel, and a weak judicial system – products of 14 years of civil war – the Government of Liberia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism. Through rule of law and security sector reform assistance programs, the United States supported a number of initiatives that addressed Liberia's vulnerabilities, which included porous borders, rampant identification document fraud, lax immigration controls, wide-scale corruption, and underpaid law enforcement, security, and customs personnel.
There have never been any acts of transnational terrorism in Liberia. Of concern, however, were reports that hundreds of Middle Eastern businessmen purchased legitimately issued but fraudulently obtained Liberian diplomatic passports from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials. These documents would permit free movement between the Middle East and West Africa. The government took steps to stop this Charles Taylor-era practice by requiring that diplomatic passports be issued only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. New restrictions on who qualified for Liberian diplomatic or official passports were being implemented by the new head of the Foreign Ministry's passport office.
Since 2003, there has been resurgence in the number of visits to Liberia by foreign Islamic proselytizing groups, overwhelmingly Sunni organizations from Pakistan, Egypt, and South Africa. However, Liberian security services reported that none of these groups publicly espoused militant or anti-American messages. Liberia's indigenous, war-weary, and predominantly Sunni Muslim community, which represented at least 20 percent of the country's population, has demonstrated no interest in militant strains of Islam to date. That said, outstanding land disputes negatively affecting large numbers of Muslim land owners in Nimba and other counties could fan ethnic and religious tensions with the predominantly Christian central government. As in other West African states, reports surfaced that Lebanese businessmen in Liberia provided financial support and engaged in fundraising activities for Hizballah. There were no other terrorist groups known to be operating within Liberia.
International terrorism was a concern in Madagascar because of the island nation's inadequately monitored 3,000 mile coastline. Limited equipment, personnel, and training for border control increased the risks of penetration. Following the International Maritime Conference in 2006, hosted by the Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Embassy, Madagascar military and port officials participated in a similar event in Mombassa in September. Malagasy police, military, intelligence, and security forces have not had much training in counterterrorism and maritime surveillance. Despite limited resources, government officials were willing to cooperate with the United States; international maritime conferences and the Rewards for Justice Program were two examples of cooperative ventures. At the main port in Tamatave, which handled 80 percent of maritime traffic and more than 90 percent of container traffic, access control and overall security improved substantially. The U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Liaison removed Tamatave Port from its Port Security Advisory for Madagascar, with an acknowledgement that the Port met minimum standards under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
Inadequate resources continued to hamper the Malian government's ability to control its long and porous borders, thus limiting the effectiveness of military patrols and border control measures. Mali is currently more threatened by tribal insurgencies than by terrorist threats, but cooperated with United States counterterrorism efforts, and remained one of the largest recipients in the sub-region of military training and assistance through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and other United States assistance programs. Northern Mali served as a potential safe haven for terrorists, traffickers, and smugglers due to the region's remoteness, harsh desert climate, and size. AQIM maintained a regular, small-scale presence, moving essentially without hindrance in the northern part of Malian territory, although it did not maintain any permanent facilities and was constantly on the move. There were no confrontations between the Malian military and the AQIM this year.
The December 2007 murder of four French tourists and the attack on a military checkpoint were both low-level attacks, but highlighted the fact that AQIM was active in the country despite the newly elected government’s significantly increased level of cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism. The Mauritanian Government actively pursued the perpetrators of the December attacks. The government embarked on an ambitious political agenda to build national unity.
In June, 24 of 25 individuals accused of ties to AQIM were acquitted, and the remaining defendant sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. On July 31, the court acquitted 14 of 19 persons accused of complicity in the 2005 AQIM attack on a Mauritanian military base, for lack of evidence. The remaining five defendants received sentences from two to five years. In late October, the government arrested five other individuals for suspected ties to AQIM. Three of the five were released with the remaining two currently awaiting trial on terrorism and explosives charges.
The Government of Mauritania continued working to prevent terrorist organizations, notably AQIM, from using its territory. These efforts remained constrained, however, by limited resources and training, and by the inherent challenges of controlling the sparsely-populated and porous regions bordering Algeria and Mali. The government continued to identify and respond to AQIM cells operating in country. Western Missions warned their citizens of AQIM efforts to target westerners in Mauritania, particularly those involved in the petroleum industry.
The new government established a new counterterrorism force which, despite USG assistance, was not fully functional at year’s end. The Mauritanian Army Camel Corps, responsible for patrolling the eastern border regions of the country, participated in USG antiterrorism training and the Mauritanian military participated in USG-sponsored regional counterterrorism exercises.
The apprehensions and trials of extremists by the Nigerian government seemed to indicate not just recognition of potential threats to itself and its citizens, but a responsiveness and willingness to act to protect American interests, including facilities and personnel. These arrests also suggested some degree of cooperation and facilitation among extremist groups in the Sahel, which were made possible by porous borders with minimal controls, and the logistical difficulties inherent in patrolling the Sahara desert. Since 2005, the Nigerian Taliban (which has no connection to the Taliban of Afghanistan) has been suspected of having connections to AQIM in Mali and AQ affiliates. To date, no conclusive links have been definitively proven, although bin Ladin went on record in 2003 saying that Nigeria was fertile ground for action.
In December 2006, Mohammed Yusuf, a Maiduguri-based imam and alleged "Nigerian Taliban" leader was charged with five counts of illegally receiving foreign currency. His trial was still ongoing at the end of 2007.
Also in December 2006, Mohammed Ashafa of Kano was charged with receiving funds in 2004 from two AQ operatives based in Lahore, Pakistan to "identify and carry out terrorist attacks" on American residences in Nigeria. Deported from Pakistan for alleged ties to AQ, and said to have undergone terrorist training in Mauritania, Ashafa was charged in a Nigerian court with recruiting 21 fighters who were sent to Camp Agwan in Niger for terrorist training with AQIM. Ashafa also stood accused of being a courier for AQ from 2003 to 2004, who passed coded messages from Pakistan to Nigerian Taliban members on how to carry out terrorist activities against American interests in Nigeria. In addition, Nigerian authorities alleged that Ashafa's home was used as an AQ safe house, and that he rendered logistical and intelligence support to AQ operatives.
On January 16, 2007, Mohammed Bello Ilyas Damagun, a Nigerian cleric described by prosecutors as a primary sponsor of the Nigerian Taliban, was arraigned on three counts of terrorism. Damagun was accused of receiving the sum of 300,000 USD from Sudanese extremists or an AQ affiliate in Sudan "with the intent that said money shall be used in the execution of acts of terrorism." He also allegedly sent three young men to train with AQIM in Mauritania. The final count in Damagun's indictment was for aiding terrorist activities in Nigeria. This trial was ongoing with the defendant out on bail. These trials were still in progress due to a combination of procedural appeals, lengthy adjournments, and the additional time necessary to translate the proceedings from English to Hausa and back.
There was an attack in April that was likely perpetrated by the Nigerian Taliban, however this was not proven. On April 17, a police station in Panshekera, a small village outside Kano city, was attacked by militants subsequently described by the media as the "Nigerian Taliban," though the exact identities of the militants and their ideological affiliations (if any) remain unknown. While reports are conflicting, it was widely believed that the attackers were targeting the state and its uniformed security.
On July 27, the Government of Nigeria introduced e-passports containing a data chip, which will allow for easier passport authentication and fraudulent documentation detection. Besides enhanced security, the system will provide the country's first electronic database of biometric information.
The U.S. Embassy issued a warden message to American citizens on September 7, advising that American and other Western interests in Lagos and Abuja, both official and commercial, were at risk for terrorist attack. In an October 31 press report about the arrest of two men in Kano, "a senior officer" of the Nigerian State Security Service said that the men detained were the individuals whose activities had prompted the U.S. warden message.
On November 12, Nigerian law enforcement announced the arrests in Kano, Kaduna, and Yobe states of at least 10 suspected terrorists with alleged ties to AQIM, which included the two men from the October 31 report. On November 22, five of these individuals were charged with conspiracy and planning to commit a terrorist act. Two were also charged with attempted murder. The defendants were denied bail and the case was adjourned. The others were allegedly in custody, undergoing interrogation. Local news reports described a collaborative effort between Nigerian and American intelligence services.
The Sultan of Sokoto, the supreme Muslim authority in the country, has stated "There is no AQ cell of Taliban in Nigeria." The Sultan received information from a longstanding network of traditional local and regional leaders (emirs), and maintained that it would be extremely difficult for terrorist groups to operate without detection by this network. Nonetheless, poverty and unemployment, especially acute in the Muslim-majority north, helped create a climate potentially conducive to the radicalization of marginalized individuals.
In September 2005, a draft antiterrorism bill was approved by the Nigerian cabinet and sent to the National Assembly. The bill provided for sentences of up to 35 years for those convicted of a terrorist offense. Membership in a banned organization carried lighter jail sentences that could be replaced by a fine of up to 50,000 naira (400 USD). The bill was withdrawn, however, the day of its second reading in the Senate due to opposition from northern Senators who argued that the motivation for such a bill was anti-Muslim sentiment.
The Government of Rwanda combated terrorist financing and reinforced border control measures to identify potential terrorists and to prevent entry of armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rwanda had an intergovernmental counterterrorism committee and a counterterrorism reaction team in the police intelligence unit. Rwandan police and marines conducted anti-narcotrafficking patrols on Lake Kivu. Central Bank and Ministry of Finance officials provided outstanding cooperation on terrorist financing issues. While the Government of Rwanda had not yet fully developed its laws and regulations in accordance with international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism, it had the authority under local law to identify, freeze, and seize terrorist-related financial assets. Rwanda participated in regional initiatives on international counterterrorism cooperation, including the East African Standby Brigade. In November, Rwanda hosted a meeting of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa, which brought intelligence and security officials together to address security challenges faced by members of the African Union through information sharing and strategic intelligence coordination. Also in November, Rwanda hosted a six-week training course for East African police commanders in cooperation with the United Kingdom.
Besides reinforcing border security, the Government of Rwanda developed terrorism response strategies. The Rwandan national tourist office hired a consultant to develop a communications policy to alert embassies should their citizens be harmed in Rwanda’s national parks, and to increase disaster preparedness. The national Civil Aviation Authority worked to develop a crisis plan to address terrorist attacks and/or other disasters, and installed more cameras at Kigali International Airport to increase surveillance capability.
The Government of Senegal cooperated with the United States to identify terrorist groups operating in Senegalese territory. More work remained to be done, however, to develop first responder services, to facilitate the quick sharing of information between agencies, and to control porous borders where police and security services are undermanned and ill-equipped to prevent illicit crossborder trafficking. The Government of Senegal affirmed its commitment to United States government-assisted efforts to augment its border security.
Senegal continued to enhance its ability to combat terrorism, prosecute terror suspects, and respond to emergencies. Despite advances, however, Senegal lacked specific counterterrorism
Legislation, and current laws made it difficult to prosecute terror suspects. As participants in the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership, more than 318 Senegalese government officials
participated in ATA programs. Senegalese military officials attended a counterterrorism seminar in Rabat and attended the Chiefs of Defense and Directors of Military Intelligence conferences. The Defense International Institute of Legal Studies, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gave separate seminars on the legal aspects of fighting terrorism.
Senegal did not provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations. However, five Mauritanians, two of whom claimed to be members of al-Qa’ida, were allegedly involved in the December 24 murder of four French tourists in Mauritania; the five traveled through Senegal before being captured in a hotel in Guinea-Bissau by Bissau-Guinean police, aided by French authorities. The Mauritanians were able to cross four Senegalese borders without being stopped by Senegalese authorities. This event demonstrated Senegal's porous borders and its lack of capacity to identify and combat terrorist threats and the need for further training.
Somalia's fragile central government, protracted state of violent instability, long unguarded coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula made the country an attractive location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point for conducting operations in Somalia or elsewhere. Despite the late 2006 defeat of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Mogadishu by Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, the ensuing low-level conflict that engulfed Mogadishu and parts of south central Somalia for the remainder of the year continued to make Somalia a permissive operating environment and safe haven for both Somali and foreign terrorists. The extremist al-Shabaab (The Youth), the militant "shock troops" of the CIC whose radicalism and violent means led to the CIC's undoing, initially dispersed and fled south along the Kenyan border. Al-Shabaab, some of whom are affiliated with AQ, consists of radicalized young men, between 20 and 30 years of age. A few of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with AQ in Afghanistan. Al-Shabaab extremists participated in attacks against Ethiopian and TFG security forces. Al-Shabaab and other extremists were also behind suicide bombings, the use of landmines, remote controlled roadside bombs, and targeted assassinations against Ethiopian and TFG security forces, other government officials, journalists, and civil society leaders. The African Union Peace Support Mission (AMISOM), which deployed in March to secure the air and sea ports and presidential compound, lost six soldiers to extremist attacks during the year.
Among the foreign AQ operatives believed to have enjoyed protection by the former CIC and al-Shabaab leadership were individuals wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and a 2002 hotel bombing in Kenya, including Fazul Abdallah Mohammed (aka Harun Fazul), and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. At the end of the year, Ethiopian and TFG forces remained nominally in control of Mogadishu and southern and central Somalia, though institutions of government remained weak and ineffective. Regional efforts to bring about national reconciliation and establish peace and stability in Somalia are ongoing. The capability of the TFG and other Somali local and regional authorities to carry out counterterrorism activities was limited.
South Africa supported efforts to counter international terrorism and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. The South African government adopted broad counterterrorism legislation under the title “Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Bill” in 2004.
It was unclear to what extent foreign terrorist groups were present in South Africa. Some analysts held the view that AQ or other extremist groups had a presence within South Africa’s generally moderate Muslim community. In January, the Department of the Treasury designated South African nationals Farhad and Junaid Dockrat as AQ financiers and facilitators, subjecting them to United States sanctions.
Border security challenges and document fraud negatively affected the government’s efforts to pursue counterterrorism initiatives. South African documents often included good security measures, but because of corruption within the immigration services, thousands of South African identity cards, passports, and work/residence permits were fraudulently issued.
Tanzania took significant steps to establish a National Counterterrorism Center to build its capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, and worked closely with the United States to disrupt terrorist networks. Tanzania law enforcement cooperated with the United States to exchange evidence and testimony on cases related to the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam.
Tanzania continued its participation in several multi-year programs to strengthen its law enforcement and military capacity, improve aviation and border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania showed ongoing willingness to combat terrorist financing. In December 2006, the Tanzanian Parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Bill, ending a legislative process that began in 2002 with support from the United States. The AML Bill created a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and bolstered Tanzania's ability to combat financial crime, including counterterrorist financing.
With the Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program, the United States supported Tanzania as it equipped and staffed the FIU. Tanzanian law enforcement and security forces attempted to identify and monitor terrorist activities and deny use of Tanzanian territory as a safe haven for terrorists. The government was aware that terrorists could use its territory for transit purposes and did not provide any kind of material assistance to terrorists or terrorist groups.
Porous borders in a region rife with insecurity have left Uganda vulnerable to terrorist activity. In response, the Government of Uganda stepped up efforts to track, capture, and hold suspected terror suspects. Uganda also worked with the United States to push forward on peace and security initiatives in the Great Lakes Region. While the Ugandan government was a strong advocate for crossborder solutions to persistent problems, resource limitations and corruption hampered more effective measures. In March, the Ugandan military's counterterrorism units engaged some 100 Allied Defense Force (ADF) rebels, killing 60-80 and capturing 10-20. The Ugandan government engaged the Democratic Republic of Congo on the ADF through various regional mechanisms.
Zambia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism. In June, Zambia endorsed the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. In July, the government submitted an Antiterrorism Bill to Parliament. The Bill criminalized acts of terrorism, including terrorist training and incitement; and granted the government significant authority to investigate, prevent, and prosecute acts of terrorism. Inadequate resources and training impeded Zambia’s law enforcement agencies’ counterterrorism capabilities. Zambia’s borders are long and porous, and its ports of entry are vulnerable transit points for human trafficking and international crime.
Zambia made no progress in ratifying the counterterrorism conventions listed in UNSC 1373. In November, Zambia participated in an African regional workshop on implementing UNSC 1540. Despite offers of assistance from the United States, the Zambian government does not have an internationally-compliant antimoney laundering or counterterrorist financing regime. The Cabinet is reviewing a national antimoney laundering policy and draft antimoney laundering and asset forfeiture bills.
Despite the Government of Zimbabwe's self-imposed isolation on most diplomatic issues, local intelligence and criminal investigative agencies were responsive to our counterterrorism needs. Government agencies routinely provided assistance by conducting investigative inquiries, traces, and border checks of individuals thought to be threats to USG facilities or personnel.
During the year, the government attempted to strengthen its ability to prevent and suppress terrorism and money laundering activities. On August 3, Parliament passed the Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill, which provided a maximum punishment of life in prison for engaging in or recruiting for foreign or international terrorist activities. It also contained penalties for harboring, concealing, or failing to report foreign or international terrorists. An enactment date for the Bill had not been set by the end of 2007.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe installed a new IT system that provided enhanced capability to detect, analyze, and disseminate information on suspicious financial transactions. Working with law enforcement and other government agencies, the Reserve Bank maintained export/import desks at ports of entry and conducted audits of mining entities to detect and prevent illegal mineral smuggling and money laundering activities. An increase in suspicious transaction reports and prosecutions of financial crime cases was attributed to these efforts.
The Government of Zimbabwe entered into talks with several other countries in the region to sign MOUs, similar to the MOU signed with South Africa last year, to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
1 A March 2007 political agreement has made significant inroads towards peace.