"To succeed in the quest for Somali peace…we must take a more comprehensive approach in tackling the extremists, which includes encouraging the Transitional Federal Government to more aggressively pursue its commitment to a much more inclusive political process to bring into the government all forces which eschew violence."
--Raila Odinga, Prime Minister Of The Republic Of Kenya
64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
September 25, 2009
Al-Shabaab’s leadership was supportive of al-Qa’ida (AQ), and both groups continued to present a serious terrorist threat to American and allied interests throughout the Horn of Africa. Due to ongoing fighting between designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab, Hizbul Islam, other armed factions and militias and Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Somalia remained highly unstable, and a permissive environment for terrorist transit and training. Foreign fighters, a small number of AQ operatives, and likeminded indigenous Islamic extremists continued to pose a threat to regional security. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, aka Harun Fazul, one of several AQ leaders charged with carrying out the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, most likely remained in the region. Senior al-Qa’ida in East Africa leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in al-Shabaab controlled territory in mid-September.
In the Trans-Sahara, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) expanded its reach in the Sahel, conducting kidnappings of Spanish, French, German, and Italian citizens in Mauritania, Niger, and Mali. In June, AQIM murdered a British citizen in northern Mali and an American citizen in Mauritania, and assassinated a Malian military official. A small Malian military response to the assassination was subsequently defeated. In August, AQIM launched an unsuccessful suicide bomb attack in the vicinity of the French embassy in Mauritania.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as the international standard-setting body to address threats of money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related crimes, has established a network of countries around the world. These FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs) have the potential to serve both as a disciplinarian and as a resource. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are two such bodies recognized by the FATF: the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (GIABA). Like FATF and the other FSRBs, they conducted mutual evaluations, worked on various framework and implementation issues, and provided training for their members. Despite the existence and activities of these groups, Africa remained the single region in the world without FSRB coverage over wide swaths of its countries. FATF has attempted to organize an RSRB in Central Africa, where the majority of unsubscribed countries are located.
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP)
The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multifaceted, multiyear strategy designed to combat violent extremism, and contain and marginalize 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, Senegal, and Burkina Faso); to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the trans-Sahara; and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and U.S. partners in the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia).
The 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 safe havens and support networks in the Maghreb and Sahel – as well as recognition that al-Qa’ida 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 has been successful in slowly building capacity and cooperation despite political setbacks over the years caused by coup d’etats, ethnic rebellions, and extra-constitutional actions that have interrupted progress and work with select countries of the partnership.
TSCTP’s main elements include:
The African Union
The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments, including a 1999 Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, a 2002 Protocol to the Convention, and a 2004 Plan of Action. The Addis Ababa-based AU Commission provided guidance to the 53 member states and coordinated limited technical assistance to cover member states' counterterrorism capability gaps.
The AU worked with member states to eliminate redundancies between the Algiers-based African Center for Study and Research in Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Committee on Intelligence and Security Services in Africa, which was first established at the AU Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2005.
The Department of State and the Department of Defense's African Center for Strategic Studies have collaborated with the AU to run counterterrorism workshops for African civilian and military officials. These workshops, as well as regional counterterrorism seminars, examined the nature of terrorism threats on the continent, the capacity of countries to counter terrorism, and their needs for technical assistance to strengthen that capacity.
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. On several occasions, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping publicly condemned acts of terrorism, including:
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 and 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 possible sources of terrorist financing. That said, there is no evidence of a terrorist presence in Angola. Angola's high rate of U.S. dollar cash flow made its financial system an attractive site for money laundering, and the government's capacity to detect financial crimes remained limited. On December 14, however, the government agreed to allow for the placement of an advisor from the U.S. Treasury Department in the Angolan Ministry of Finance and Central Bank. This advisor will help Angola promote transparency in its financial system. Corruption, lack of infrastructure, and insufficient capacity continued to hinder Angola's border control and law enforcement capacities. The government's limited law enforcement resources were directed towards border control and stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. In May, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Kassim Tajideen, an important financial contributor to Hizballah with extensive business interests in Angola, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.
Botswana has a National Counterterrorism Committee to address issues pertaining to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Botswana established its first intelligence agency in 2008, with responsibility for both domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. In April, Botswana's Parliament passed legislation to create a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which will harmonize Botswana's anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regime. While the legislation for this has been enacted, the FIU was not yet established at year’s end. Until the FIU is functioning, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes has a dedicated unit that will continue investigating suspicious transactions. One goal of this legislation is to decrease the likelihood that terrorist financing could move through Botswana's financial institutions. Terrorist financing is not criminalized as a specific offense in Botswana. However, acts of terrorism and related offenses, such as aiding and abetting, can be prosecuted under the Penal Code and under the Arms and Ammunitions Act.
Despite its lack of resources, Burkina Faso was serious about countering terrorism. The government cooperated with the United States in its counterterrorism efforts where possible, and participated in training, seminars, and exercises, such as the regional Flintlock exercise held in Spain and Mali, and familiarization events offered by U.S. Africa Command and Special Operations Command Europe. In December 2008, Burkina Faso was accepted as a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and is now eligible for various programs aimed at improving the nation's capacity to combat terrorism. Outside of U.S. cooperation, the government participated in regional efforts at combating terrorism, including with the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, and other international organizations. There is 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.
The United States has provided training and assistance to Burundi, and its recent contribution of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, brought threats from the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab. Aware of its limited counterterrorism capabilities, Burundi has asked the international community for assistance and expertise in countering terrorism.
Cape Verdean authorities continued to prosecute a case against Jean-Charles Mendes Da Silva, a French citizen and alleged member of the Algerian terrorist organization, the Armed Islamic Group. On March 10, 2007, Cape Verdean police arrested Da Silva on an Interpol warrant and unrelated forgery and weapons charges. A Cape Verdean court convicted him of those crimes, as well as of certain criminal offenses related to his activities in France, but prosecutors declined to seek a conviction under Cape Verde's counterterrorism laws. Moreover, Cape Verde refused the French government's request to extradite Da Silva, because he had claimed and obtained Cape Verdean citizenship prior to his arrest. At year’s end Da Silva was awaiting sentencing.
With respect to counterterrorism legislation, Cape Verdean law specifically criminalizes terrorist activity, including the provision of material assistance to terrorists. The code of criminal procedure gives police wide authority to perform wiretaps and warrantless searches in cases of suspected terrorism. Additionally, in November Cape Verde's two major political parties informally agreed to amend the Cape Verdean constitution in order to allow nighttime searches and seizures in such circumstances.
Cape Verdean law enforcement has taken special measures to prevent terrorists from entering the country. Immigration authorities check names of visitors against a database of actual and suspected terrorists, which includes data furnished by the U.S. Government. Cape Verde was in the process of obtaining access to certain data from the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, and also participated in the Economic Community Of West African States Warning and Response Network, an information sharing program addressing security issues.
Comoran security forces had limited resources and training in counterterrorism and maritime security, and remained vulnerable to terrorist transit. However, Comoran authorities welcomed the visit of a U.S. Coast Guard International Port Security team in November, and Comoran police and security forces participated in U.S. counterterrorism assistance programs and cooperated with the Rewards for Justice Program. International terrorism concerns in Comoros focused on Comoran 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.
President Sambi, democratically elected in 2006, reconfirmed Comoros' rejection of terrorism and, with Comoran religious leaders, publicly rejected religious extremism.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) was cooperative on counterterrorism issues when resources were provided. The Government of the D.R.C. focused its limited fiscal, military, and diplomatic resources on trying to maintain a hard-fought, tenuous peace. The fragile internal security situation was aggravated by foreign-based armed rebel groups operating with relative impunity in contested areas of the country. The D.R.C.'s lack of capacity to secure its borders, monitor large tracts of sparsely populated and remote territory, and unfamiliarity with the issue of global terrorism could make it vulnerable as a staging ground for transnational criminal or terrorist groups; however, such activities would be hindered by the lack of transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as a generally non-violent domestic population. The Congolese national intelligence apparatus similarly lacked an ability to identify and disrupt any potential domestic terrorist threats.
On August 6, Ivoirian authorities detained Imam Abd al Menhem Qubaysi, a Hizballah spiritual leader and U.S.-designated terrorist financier, at the airport upon his arrival on a commercial flight from Lebanon. Qubaysi, who lived in Cote d'Ivoire for a number of years, was denied entry at immigration and returned to Lebanon on the same flight.
The Ivoirian Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the United States, uses the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to enhance border security at its major airport and seaport. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which was formed in 2008, received additional legal authority when Ordinance 637 on terrorism financing became law on November 12, 2009. The law extends FIU activities to the receipt, analysis, and dissemination of information on transactions suspected of being terrorism-related.
Djibouti was one of the most forward-leaning Arab League members supporting ongoing counterterrorism efforts. President Ismail Omar Guelleh and other top leaders in Djibouti repeatedly expressed their country's full and unqualified support for the international counterterrorism efforts. Although the government's counterterrorism capabilities were limited, Djiboutian counterparts were proactive, and were highly receptive and responsive to U.S. requests for counterterrorism cooperation. The Djiboutian National Security Services and law enforcement agencies took extraordinary measures with their limited resources to ensure the safety and security of American citizens, the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonnier. Limited resources continued to hamper the government’s ability to comprehensively control its porous borders, especially with Somaliland. Nevertheless, the government continued to support overall enhanced border security, notably by inviting the International Organization for Migration to set up an office in Djibouti, and by issuing machine-readable travel documents. More broadly, the government also played a constructive role in hosting regional initiatives addressing peace and security in the Horn of Africa.
In May 2009, the Department of State again certified Eritrea as a country that is “not cooperating fully” with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. The lack of Eritrean cooperation has constrained the ability of the United States and international partners to counter terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa and Somalia, particularly with respect to al-Shabaab leaders linked to al-Qa’ida. In late 2009, the UN Security Council created a sanctions regime on Eritrea that includes a territorial arms embargo and an asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo for those individuals and entities listed by the UN Somalia Sanctions Committee.
The Government of Eritrea has provided safe haven to political officials aligned with the now obsolete Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), including U.S. designated terrorist Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who resided in Asmara until May but is now in southern Somalia leading a faction of Hizbul Islam.
The Ethiopian Government remained concerned about terrorist-related activities in neighboring Somalia. The Ethiopian military’s January 2009 withdrawal from Somalia reduced the rationale long used by Somalia-based extremists as grounds for targeting Ethiopia. By bolstering defensive forces along the Ethio-Somali border, the Ethiopians further reinforced defensive mechanisms to stem potential infiltration of extremists into Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a member state and was in the rotating chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and also participated actively in IGAD’s Capacity Building Program Against Terrorism (ICPAT) to bolster the counterterrorism capacity of IGAD member states.
Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation was responsible for overall counterterrorism management. The Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) worked in conjunction with NISS on counterterrorism. Key among Ethiopia’s counterterrorism objectives is combating terrorist groups like al-Shabaab and the United Western Somali Liberation Front.
Ethiopia has requested U.S. assistance to craft legislation and provide other technical assistance to establish a regime to combat terrorist financing, and is more focused on seeking prosecution of counterterrorism suspects since the new Antiterrorism Law was passed in July. Ethiopia was an active participant in African Union (AU) counterterrorism efforts, participating in the AU’s Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA).
The United States continued to support Ethiopia’s counterterrorism capabilities. Antiterrorism Assistance Training participants included front line supervisors engaged in land border management at ports of entry and senior police leaders studying their role in combating terrorism on the strategic, regional, and national levels. Students were taught to analyze terrorist activities including financing, confidential source handling, development and information management sharing. This year’s goal was to address the ability to disseminate information across agencies and countries, and to concentrate on the large issue of stabilizing the Horn of Africa by countering terrorism on a multilateral front.
Ethiopia's location within the Horn of Africa made it vulnerable to money laundering activities perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations, terrorists, and narcotics traffickers. On November 19, parliament passed anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation that had been supported through technical advice from the U.S. Department of Treasury. This legislation formally created Ethiopia's first financial intelligence unit called the Financial Information Center. This new Center is charged with implementing this new legislation.
Despite its lack of resources, Gabon cooperated with the United States in its efforts to combat terrorism, where possible, and participated in numerous training programs, seminars, and exercises offered by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Gabon lacked the resources necessary to protect its borders adequately and to monitor the movement of potential terrorists, especially along its unpatrolled land borders. Airfields in Gabon are unsecured and generally in need of significant security infrastructure improvements. The Government of Gabon made significant strides in improving its maritime security and restricting illegal access to the country via the Gulf of Guinea. Gabon has taken steps to upgrade security at its port facilities in Owendo, Port Mole, and Port Gentil.
In 2008, Ghana enacted the Counterterrorism Act, which called for implementation of a national identification card. The cards will contain biometric data such as fingerprints and photos, but the national identification card has not yet been introduced. Forms of identification with biometrics were not in widespread use, although the Ghanaian driver’s license is issued with a fingerprint as part of the individual’s application. Most citizens use their voter registration card and a passport for identification. In 2009, Ghanaian passports issued were machine readable but lacked biometric features.
Ghana passed an anti-money laundering law in 2008 that provided for the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). At the end of 2009, the FIU was not yet operational. However, six potential FIU members, including the Chief Executive Officer, were identified and sent to the United States for training.
U.S. Africa Command provided technical and training assistance to the Ghanaian Navy for the three “Defender” class patrol boats they received in 2008 and the additional four boats delivered in December. The patrol boats are intended to improve maritime interdiction capacity and to address Ghana’s limited ability to patrol its porous borders.
The Governments of Ghana and Togo signed an agreement in October to cooperate on crime and security problems such as human trafficking, small weapons trafficking, money laundering, and counterterrorism. The agreement is part of a larger strategy to accelerate regional integration and the free movement of persons, goods, and services; and to intensify trade and economic relations within the sub-region.
Cross-border kidnappings and arms smuggling, reports of extremist recruiting within refugee camps and Kenyan cities, increased allegations of terrorist plotting, and public threats by al-Shabaab leaders led to a heightened recognition among government officials, the diplomatic community, and civil society that Kenya remained vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Whereas Kenyans have traditionally perceived terrorism as primarily a ‘foreign’ problem, during the past year an increasing number of Kenyan citizens and government officials came to recognize that their own country and society were threatened by violent extremists.
Kenya did demonstrate increased political will to prevent infiltration into the country and apprehend suspected terrorists, although porous borders make that task extremely difficult. The government took some steps to increase security along the long Kenya/Somalia border and to track down extremists operating inside the country.
Al-Shabaab’s continued dominance of most of southern Somalia provided a permissive environment for a small number of al-Qa’ida operatives to conduct training and terrorist planning with sympathetic Islamic extremists, to include foreign fighters. Although the Kenya-Somalia border officially remained closed, large numbers of Somali refugees continued to flee to refugee camps in Kenya in order to escape the fighting and drought. Armed militants crossed the porous border into Kenya to obtain supplies, funding, medical care, and recruits. There was a disturbing increase in incidents of armed Somalis crossing the border to kidnap foreigners inside Kenya. In February, two Italian nuns who had been kidnapped from the Kenyan border town of El Wak in late 2008 were released. In July, gunmen claiming to belong to al-Shabaab kidnapped three foreign aid workers, including one American, inside Kenya and took them back to Somalia. The militants released the hostages in October. In mid-December, armed Somalis attempted to kidnap an Italian nun working in the northeastern town of Wajir but were driven off by Kenyan police.
Despite increased concern over security and Kenya’s strong counterterrorism partnership with the U.S. Government, the lack of counterterrorism and anti-money laundering legislation during most of 2009 hindered Kenya’s efforts to combat violent extremism. Existing laws did not permit police to detain terrorist suspects and prosecute them effectively. The government did not submit a revised version of counterterrorism legislation that was defeated in 2006. The Kenyan anti-money laundering bill was passed by parliament and signed into law at the end of the year.
The United States continued to enjoy close and productive ties with the Kenyan Armed Forces. During the year the United States provided training and equipment to the Kenya Navy for coastal security and maritime domain awareness. Equipment grants included six coastal radar sites and three Defender class patrol boats, plus training and spare parts for existing equipment. The United States also assisted the Kenyan Army to train and equip two Infantry Battalions and one Ranger Strike Force company tasked with providing border security.
Kenyan law enforcement agencies also worked with the United States and other allies to increase their counterterrorism abilities. Security along Kenya’s land and maritime borders remained a primary focus of these efforts. The Kenyan Maritime Police Unit (MPU) and other agencies not only received equipment and training for coastal security from the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, but also demonstrated an increasing degree of self-sufficiency. During the latest iterations of ATA’s 11-week Comprehensive Maritime Security Training program, previous graduates of the course served as associate instructors. ATA-trained Kenyan personnel also developed and presented a basic two-week maritime operations course to professionals from multiple security agencies at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Marine Camp in Malindi. In December, the U.S. Ambassador formally donated three patrol boats for use by the MPU and Administrative Police (AP) coastal security forces. Other ATA courses provided training in border control management, fraudulent travel documents, protecting digital infrastructure, and internet investigations. ATA also provided digital forensic equipment and training to the Kenyan Police Service (KPS).
The U.S. Department of Justice, through the offices of the Resident Legal Advisor and Senior Law Enforcement Advisor, conducted a number of training activities aimed at building the capacity of police and prosecutors. Courses included trial advocacy, witness protection, trafficking in persons, forensic and digital evidence, cyber crimes, and piracy. In December, Kenya and 10 other regional countries participated in a U.S. Department of Justice-sponsored regional conference on combating criminal organizations, including terrorist organizations. Conference topics included terrorist financing, cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies, electronic evidence gathering, and legal regimes. The FBI also provided training and equipment to the KPS, the AP, and the KWS. Training activities included crime scene investigation and terrorist finance, and money laundering. Equipment grants included fingerprint kits and gyro-stabilized binoculars for use in air surveillance operations.
In July and August, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided specialized training and equipment to the newly established AP border patrol unit and the KWS. In September, ATA funded a study tour for AP and KWS personnel to observe CBP operations along the Mexican-American border and to meet with State Department and Department of Homeland Security officials in Washington, DC.
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.
The Government of Liberia took steps to improve security at the Freeport of Monrovia, and the U.S. Coast Guard certified the port compliant under the International Port Security Program. The Transportation Security Administration worked with the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority to improve security at Roberts International Airport in order to make it compliant under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, at year's end, RIA remained ICAO noncompliant.
Despite several steps taken in 2008 to counter terrorism, progress stalled in 2009 due to a political crisis that weakened government operations. Following an unconstitutional change of government in March, the United States had limited engagement with the de facto authorities, who did demonstrate a willingness to cooperate in law enforcement matters, however. The government budget suffered due to a suspension of foreign aid programs, negatively affecting public investment throughout the island.
To combat terrorist threats, the government previously created the Central Counterterrorism Service within the Ministry of Interior to work with INTERPOL and to provide information within the framework of regional and international cooperation. It also created a special counterterrorism branch within the Central Intelligence Service. These entities continued to function during the year, but did not fulfill their full roles.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (SAMIFIN) launched in June 2008 to combat money laundering, including terrorist finance, remained nominally operational, but its work was seriously limited by budget constraints.
Although the Malagasy Government took steps to create a coast guard to improve maritime security and border control in 2008, no further progress was made in 2009, and the coast guard was not yet operational. Parliament was disbanded after the March coup, so no action was taken on a draft 2008 bill that would have implemented the provisions of several universal counterterrorism instruments, including UN Security Council Resolution 1373.
Political unrest and limited resources severely constrained Madagascar's ability to confront a potential terrorist threat. The Malagasy authorities lacked the capacity to effectively monitor suspect organizations, control suspicious financial transactions, identify terrorist suspects, and control the movement of people and goods across its borders.
In contrast to 2008, 2009 saw increased terrorist activity on Malian soil, although at the end of the year it was unclear if this increased activity was indicative of a long-term change in the terrorist environment in Mali.
Although the Malian Government was aware that northern Mali was being used by AQIM as a safe haven, Mali’s long, porous borders and a general lack of resources have hindered the country’s ability to combat AQIM effectively.
Although the kidnapping of westerners is a continuation of AQIM’s tactics of prior years, the execution of Edwin Dyer, the kidnapping of Pierre Camatte on Malian soil, and the attacks against Colonel Ould Bou and the Malian army represented a significant departure from AQIM’s prior tactics in northern Mali.
Following the assassination of Colonel Ould Bou, the Malians launched a military operation in northern Mali targeting AQIM. The Malian military effort included extended patrols through areas where AQIM was thought to be present, and resulted in engagements on June 15 and in July. The beginning of the rainy season led to a lull in military action.
Mali continued to address terrorist financing issues. Mali’s National Section for the Processing of Financial Information, which began operations in May 2008, received eight reports of suspicious financial activities during the year, although ongoing investigations have not yet revealed any links to terrorist financing or terrorist activity.
Mali has expressed a willingness to increase regional cooperation against AQIM and terrorism generally. Mali is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country. Mali also works with other regional partners and organizations to support its counterterrorism efforts, notably the Algerian-led counterterrorism coalition comprised of Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure has long called for a regional Heads of State Summit to be held in Bamako to discuss coordination of counterterrorism efforts, including improved border monitoring and security. On August 12 in Algeria, Mali participated in a meeting with military chiefs of staff from Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger to draft a counterterrorism strategy for the Sahara.
Mali is an engaged and active member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. It is also an active participant in U.S. programs including bilateral, joint combined exchange and regional military training, and the Antiterrorism Assistance Training program.
Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) represented the primary terrorist threat to Mauritania. After two attacks in late December 2007 and two others in 2008, including the February attack against the Israeli embassy and the September attack in Tourine that cost the lives of 11 soldiers and their civilian guide, AQIM significantly increased its level of activity and severity of attacks.
The lawless eastern and northern regions of Mauritania were a haven for smugglers and terrorists. The porous borders with Algeria, Mali, and Western Sahara posed ongoing challenges for the ill-equipped and poorly funded Mauritanian security services. In the case of the Leggett murder and the suicide bomber attack, terrorists entered Mauritania from outside the country with the sole intention of carrying out operations. Through the year, there were specific threats against U.S. interests and citizens in Mauritania.
The August 6, 2008 coup d’etat against democratically elected President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi resulted in the suspension of all U.S. Government non-humanitarian assistance, including most military cooperation and counterterrorism training to the junta-led government. Constitutional order was restored eleven months after the coup following Abdallahi’s resignation and the naming of a transitional government of national unity that led the country to presidential elections on July 18, won by Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and recognized by the international community. The United States reinitiated its cooperation with the newly formed Mauritanian Government in September. Programs focusing on counterterrorism included the Counterterrorism Fellowship Program training of military counterterrorism units under the Joint Combined Exercise Training Program, and an Anti-Terrorism Assistance border security program. Prior to the coup, the United States provided counterterrorism training to two Mauritanian units and plans to continue strengthening its military capacity.
In response to the increased terrorist threat in Mauritania, the government strengthened roadblocks and road security. In November, authorities announced the creation of a new Road Security Agency in charge of monitoring terrorist activity and all forms of trafficking on Mauritanian roads.
The government has consistently exhibited a willingness to cooperate with the United States to prevent and deter future acts of terrorism. Mauritanian authorities have been highly responsive to U.S. requests for security support, both for routine operations as well as special events, despite security forces’ somewhat limited means.
The Mauritanian Government has also displayed a willingness to both investigate and apprehend individuals involved in acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens or interests, as shown by the arrest of the entire terrorist cell responsible for planning and executing the Leggett murder. Two members of the cell were apprehended on July 17 and the remaining members were taken into custody days later.
As of December 31, the Mauritanian Government held in custody approximately 66 terrorist suspects. Roughly thirteen of them have already been prosecuted and sentenced. In July, the Nouakchott court sentenced Abdel Jelil Ould Biye and Teyeb Ould Saleck, two terrorists who participated in the 2005 Lemgheity attack, to eight and seven years respectively. In November, the Government of Senegal extradited to Mauritania three Mauritanians allegedly implicated in the August 8 suicide bomber attack against the French Embassy.
Mauritania is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country and also works with other regional partners and organizations to support its counterterrorism efforts, notably the Algerian-led counterterrorism coalition comprised of Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania. In order to improve regional coordination in the fight against terrorism, Mauritania participated in an August 12 meeting in Tamanrasset, Algeria with military chiefs of staff from Algeria, Mali, and Niger to draft a counterterrorism strategy for the Sahara. According to the agreement, Mauritania will deploy 4,000 soldiers to secure its borders with Mali and Algeria. Mauritania has strong bilateral military and counterterrorism cooperation with France.
The Nigerien Government’s counterterrorism program has improved to include the use of updated terrorist watch lists, more consistent border patrols, and regular monitoring of mosques believed to espouse extremist views. Border crossings were not automated and relied on handwritten ledgers to record entry and exit. The government has been receptive to Western and regional counterterrorism training and is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country. Niger also works with other regional partners and organizations to support its counterterrorism efforts, notably the Algerian-led counterterrorism coalition comprised of Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania.
Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) demonstrated a greater interest in Niger in 2009, with attempts to extend its influence into Nigerien territory from the largely ungoverned region bordering Mali and Algeria. The porous borders and ungoverned spaces provide terrorist groups such as AQIM a potential environment for recruiting, people and contraband smuggling, undetected transit, and logistical facilitation. Niger’s severe resource constraints stemming from its status as one of the poorest countries in the world, and the ongoing political crisis, hampered the Nigerien Government’s ability to prevent AQIM intrusion.
On December 14, 2008, AQIM-affiliated persons kidnapped and held hostage UN Special Envoy, Robert Fowler, his colleague, Louis Guay, and a local Nigerien driver. They were seized by AQIM within 40 kilometers of Niamey, taken across the Mali border and held hostage in the Sahara desert for 130 days before being released. On January 22, 2009, along the Mali/Niger border, AQIM-affiliated persons kidnapped four European tourists near the Niger/Mali border and held them hostage in the Sahara desert. Three of the European hostages were released months later, but one British hostage was killed.
In October, an AQIM-linked Mauritanian was captured in Niamey following his involvement in terrorist related activities outside Niger.
On November 14, AQIM associates armed with AK-47 assault rifles attempted to kidnap five U.S. Embassy personnel from a hotel in Tahoua. The failed operation was believed to have been sanctioned by AQIM leaders. The perpetrators of this attempted kidnapping have yet to be captured.
Although the rise of violent extremist organizations in northern Nigeria has yet to directly impact southern Niger, a very real threat exists. Northern Nigeria and southern Niger share a common Hausa ethnicity, numerous economic and cultural links, and a long, porous border. Immediately following the July 2009 Nigerien break-up of the Boko Haram group, Nigerien ties to the group were revealed when dozens of Boko Haram members were deported from Nigeria to their home cities in southern Niger.
In 2009, the Government of Nigeria continued efforts to improve coordination, communication, and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches on counterterrorism matters. Progress on counterterrorism legislation in the National Assembly slowed, however, due to reconciliation and consolidation issues between two rival terrorism bills and general legislative lethargy. The National Focal Point on Terrorism, an interagency task force formed in February 2007 composed of the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigerian Customs Service, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Immigration, and other relevant authorities, has been on an extended hiatus since the transfer of its SSS and MFA coordinators. Nigeria is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country.
Subsequently, on July 26, around 70 Islamic militants from a group calling itself “Boko Haram”, and which some refer to as the “Nigerian Taliban”, attacked an Izala mosque and police station in the Dutsen Tanshi section of Bauchi town with firearms and hand grenades. The attacks resulted in at least 55 deaths and up to 200 arrests. The following day, Boko Haram carried out near-simultaneous attacks against police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State, and police stations in Potsikum, Yobe State; and Wudil, Kano State; provoking police and military sweeps in several states thought to harbor Boko Haram members and sympathizers. Running clashes between security forces and militants reportedly resulted in around 700 deaths, including innocent bystanders. The situation is reminiscent of the largely rural, anti-establishment, and radical movement known as Maitatsine which caused riots in Kano State in December 1980, in which over 4,000 people reportedly died.
The Nigerian military captured Maiduguri-based Boko Haram spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf alive after a siege of his compound, and turned him over to Maiduguri police, whose colleagues had been killed by the group. A local policeman summarily executed Yusuf in front of the station in full view of onlookers, after parading him before television cameras. On August 17, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) issued a “Statement of Consolation, Advice, and Condolences to our Brothers and Family in Nigeria.”
Legislators merged a “private member” Senate bill based on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Model Legislative Provisions on Measures to Combat Terrorism, which passed its second reading on September 17, 2008, with an executive bill sponsored by the presidency. The hybrid legislation, which resembles more the later executive bill, currently awaits a third and final reading in the Senate, before the President may sign it into law. In an October 12, 2009 letter, Nigerian President Yar’Adua asked the National Assembly to pass the legislation to combat terrorism and kidnapping. The bill stipulates a maximum jail term of only five years for those convicted of terrorism.
On December 25, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was associated with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off an explosive aboard a U.S.-flagged air carrier landing in Detroit, Michigan. Abdulmutallab’s flight originated in Nigeria and he changed planes in Amsterdam enroute to the United States. The attack was unsuccessful and Abdulmutallab was charged by a U.S. court with offenses related to the attack.
The Nigerian Government continued to operate USG-funded body scanners in all four international airports to detect explosives and drugs on passengers, with numerous successful interdictions of contraband, mainly drugs. Despite repeated USG requests since 2007, the Nigerian Government has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding sanctioning the use of U.S. (and Nigerian) Federal Air Marshals on direct flights between Nigeria and the United States. A Transportation Security Administration assessment team visited Nigeria from July 13-17 in conjunction with Delta Airlines’ commencement of service from Abuja to New York.
The Nigerian government welcomes and actively participates in U.S. Government-sponsored counterterrorism training and capacity building programs. Progress continued on establishment of an additional Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) radar station on the eastern coast to complement one already operational in Lagos. The U.S. military assisted the Government of Nigeria with standing up a specialized counterterrorism unit within the Nigerian military. The American Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) conducted three Trans-Sahara Security Symposia in support of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, addressing human development issues that may contribute to the spread of extremism and instability. In addition, OSC sponsored the attendance of nine participants from various agencies at the Trans-Sahara Security Symposium at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Center in Accra, Ghana from December 14-18.
Nigerians participated in Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) courses on: Terrorism Crime Scene Investigation, Airport Security Management, VIP Protection, VIP Protection Management, Fraudulent Documents, and Maritime Interdiction of Terrorism.
The Rwandan Government worked to improve border control measures and prepared to create a financial investigations unit, in accordance with anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing legislation adopted in 2008. In November, Rwanda’s parliament ratified the African Union protocol on the prevention and combating of terrorism. In August, a U.S. Coast Guard team trained Rwandan security forces at Lake Kivu, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), on maritime patrolling and law enforcement techniques. During the year, Rwandan law enforcement officers participated in U.S.-sponsored training courses on criminal investigation techniques and small arms identification.
Sao Tome and Principe
Sao Tome and Principe has a lengthy coastline that remained porous and vulnerable to terrorist activities, smuggling, human trafficking, and other illegal activities. While there have been no reports of terrorist activity, the country’s capacity to monitor and disrupt terrorist threats was limited due to lack of resources, lack of adequate equipment and infrastructure, and insufficient administrative and financial capacity.
Despite the lack of resources and capabilities, Sao Tome and Principe cooperated with the United States and other partners in its efforts to counter terrorism. Working with the United States, Sao Tome and Principe trained and equipped local security forces in counterterrorism and maritime security to build institutional capacity and knowledge. The government created regulatory and management bodies in an effort to improve control of its border. The Sao Tomean immigration service terminated or refused visas of individuals suspected of money laundering, created a Maritime and Port Security Institute, funded the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit at the Central Bank, and supported the establishment of a radar and tracking systems program with the Sao Tomean Coast Guard.
The Government of Senegal cooperated with the United States to identify terrorist groups operating in Senegalese territory. Senegal lacked specific counterterrorism legislation and current laws made it difficult to prosecute terrorist suspects. More work remained to be done to develop first responder services, to facilitate the quick sharing of information between agencies, and to control porous borders where police and security services were undermanned and ill-equipped to prevent illicit cross-border trafficking. The Government of Senegal continued to welcome U.S.-assisted efforts to augment its border security. Although al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb did not launch attacks or secure safe haven in Senegal, it continued to be active in the neighboring countries of Mauritania and Mali and attempted to set up transit points and facilitation networks in Senegal. Senegal is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country.
Senegal participated in regional efforts to combat terrorist finance. One of the first Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) in the sub-region, Senegal’s FIU, known as CENTIF, has been active in sponsoring and holding implementation and awareness workshops on anti-money laundering/terrorist finance issues for its own stakeholders as well as for counterparts from around the sub-region. Senegal is a member of the Intergovernmental Anti-Money Laundering Group in Africa.
The fragile hold on power of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), a protracted state of violent instability, long unguarded coasts, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, made Somalia an attractive location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point for operations there or elsewhere. Despite continuing peace efforts by the TFG and other moderate forces not formally aligned with the TFG, the terrorist and insurgent groups al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam continued to exercise control over much of southern Somalia. The TFG and peacekeepers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were confined to parts of Mogadishu. Foreign fighters were involved in al-Shabaab’s fight against rival militias and the TFG. Several foreign extremists were involved in terrorist attacks in Somalia, including suicide bombings.
In January, the last Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia. On January 31, Somalia’s newly expanded parliament, meeting in Djibouti under UN auspices, elected the former leader of the Islamic Courts Union, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as president of Somalia. The move came just days after the Djibouti wing of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia entered into a power-sharing deal with the TFG. Over the next several months Sharif announced the imposition of moderate sharia law in Somalia and made other efforts to reach out to the opposition, but al-Shabaab and other radical groups rejected these moves. Armed Islamist group attacks in May through July left the TFG isolated in Mogadishu and reliant on AMISOM for protection. The capability of the TFG and other Somali local and regional authorities to carry out counterterrorism activities was extremely limited.
Al-Shabaab’s leadership has connections with al-Qa’ida (AQ); several senior al-Shabaab leaders have publicly proclaimed loyalty to al-Qa’ida. Al-Shabaab consists of a disparate grouping of armed clan militias, many of whom do not adhere to the ideology that is held by the group’s leaders. These leaders have founded and support a number of training camps in southern Somalia for young national and international recruits to al-Shabaab. In these camps, AQ-affiliated foreign fighters often lead the training and indoctrination of the recruits. Al-Shabaab and other extremists conducted suicide attacks, remote-controlled roadside bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations of government officials, journalists, humanitarian workers, and civil society leaders throughout Somalia. Al-Shabaab threatened UN and other foreign aid agencies and their staff.
On September 14, AQ senior leader and al-Shabaab trainer Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in al-Shabaab controlled territory in southern Somalia. Nabhan was an associate of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, aka Harun Fazul, one of several al-Qa’ida leaders charged with carrying out the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In November, Fazul was reportedly named Nabhan’s successor as AQ leader in Somalia.
Although AQ and al-Shabaab are not formally merged, they produce mutually supportive rhetoric. In March, AQ released a video entitled “Fight on, Champions of Somalia” in which Usama bin Ladin urged al-Shabaab to overthrow the TFG. On September 21, al-Shabaab proclaimed its allegiance to Usama bin Ladin in a video entitled “At Your Service, Osama.” The 48-minute film was posted on Islamist Internet forums while al-Shabaab fighters distributed DVD copies and organized public screenings in Mogadishu.
During the year there were numerous high profile terrorist attacks inside Somalia. Some of these operations were conducted by al-Shabaab, others by insurgent or criminal groups:
Western and regional nations worked to assist Somalia through training and support for TFG security forces. On November 17, EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs and European Defense meeting in Brussels approved the concept of a European initiative to train the Somali security forces.
AMISOM continued to secure the air and sea ports and presidential compound in Mogadishu. In November, AMISOM announced a total of 80 of its soldiers had died since deploying to the country in 2007. Uganda had 37 troops killed and Burundi 43, mainly in suicide attacks and roadside bombings.
South Africa supported efforts to counter international terrorism and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. In advance of the 2010 World Cup, there has been closer cooperation between South African and U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies concerning recent terrorist threats against U.S. facilities in South Africa. South Africa’s direct international air links and its permeable land borders made it vulnerable to illegal immigration, trafficking, and international organized crime. Recognizing these vulnerabilities, the Government of South Africa dramatically increased international cooperation on measures to prevent terrorist attacks; it also markedly increased training in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup.
Uneven border security and document fraud continued to hinder the government’s ability to pursue counterterrorism initiatives. Due to a lack of institutional capacity and corruption within the Department of Home Affairs, bona fide South African identity cards, passports, and work/residence permits were sometimes fraudulently issued to unqualified persons and sometimes denied to qualified individuals. Under the leadership of new Minister Dlamini-Zuma, the Department of Home Affairs continued work on a turnaround strategy. Department of Home Affairs initiatives included a counter-corruption strategy and a campaign aimed at accelerating documentation of all bona fide South Africans. The South African government began implementing plans to provide more reliable border security. In preparation for the 2010 World Cup, the government announced that the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) would relieve the South African Police Service (SAPS) and assume responsibility for patrolling major stretches of South Africa’s land border.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Container Security Initiative team located in Durban that works with SARS to screen containers entering and leaving the port for contraband, currency, nuclear materials, and other WMD. SARS is a member of the World Customs Organization and has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection to develop the SARS, Customs Border Control Unit (CBCU), which is modeled after the CBP, Antiterrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (ATCET), and a dedicated corps of law enforcement officers focused on WMD issues.
South Africa cooperated with the United States in exchanging information related to terrorist financing. The two nations have mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties. In early 2009, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed a review of South Africa’s compliance with FATF standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The review was generally positive, and noted that the Financial Intelligence Center was functioning effectively. The FATF noted, however, that South Africa could do a better job of regulating trusts, monitoring financial institutions compliance with AML legislation, and enhancing the disclosure of cross-border transfers of cash. South Africa remains the only FATF member in Africa and has one of the three Egmont-member Financial Intelligence Units in the region. It is also a member of Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a regional organization of financial intelligence units, and as such, has served as a resource for other ESAAMLG members. Due in part to strict banking requirements and the cash-driven nature of the South African economy, South Africans sometimes use alternative remittance systems that bypass the formal financial sector.
Tanzania remained vulnerable to international terrorism. Al-Qa’ida elements responsible for the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing remained active throughout East Africa. During the year, Tanzanian law enforcement and security forces made efforts to identify and monitor terrorist activities and deny use of Tanzanian territory as a safe haven. U.S.-Tanzanian cooperation has led to new training initiatives designed to strengthen Tanzania’s border control and internal security capacity. Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center continued its participation in several multiyear programs to strengthen its law enforcement and military capacity, improve aviation and border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), established in 2007 with the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, is responsible for receiving, analyzing, and disseminating suspicious transaction reports and other information regarding potential money laundering or terrorist financing. With only three technical staff, however, the FIU has limited resources to investigate potential money laundering or terrorist financing activities. In an effort to build Tanzania’s capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service held a seminar on anti-money laundering and financial investigative techniques in November.
Uganda remained vulnerable to international terrorism, with members of al-Qa’ida using Uganda as a transit point. Al-Qa’ida and the Somali-based al-Shabaab posed the most significant terrorist threats to Uganda. Uganda took tangible steps to track, capture, and hold individuals with suspected links to terrorist organizations. While in transit, al-Qa’ida members were believed to have procured government documents illegally and engaged in recruitment activities. In response, the Government of Uganda increased efforts to track, capture, and hold individuals with suspected links to terrorist organizations. Uganda’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (JATT), composed of military, police, and intelligence entities, led Uganda’s counterterrorism response.
In September, November, and December, the Ugandan Government raised alert levels and increased security at government installations, popular shopping centers, hotels, and other soft targets due to threats from al-Qa’ida and al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab identified Uganda as a potential target in retaliation for Uganda’s participation in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
The Ugandan military continued to track, in coordination with the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), Sudan, and the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has not carried out an attack in Uganda since mid-2006, but was responsible for killing, raping, and kidnapping hundreds of persons in southern Sudan, the D.R.C., and C.A.R. During the year, 255 LRA combatants surrendered to the government and were granted amnesty under the country’s Amnesty Act of 2000.
The U.S. Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) conducted an assessment of the Ugandan Government’s counterterrorism capabilities in June. While the Ugandan Government was a strong advocate for cross-border solutions to persistent security concerns in the Great Lakes Region, resource limitations and corruption hampered more effective counterterrorism measures. The need to amend the 2002 Anti-terrorism Act, enact comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation pending before Parliament, and improve coordination and information sharing between security services remained at year’s end.
In 2007, the Zambian Government passed a counterterrorism bill, which criminalized acts of terrorism, including terrorist training, incitement, and financing, 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, however. Zambia’s long and porous borders continued to pose a challenge in terms of the monitoring and control of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country. Its points of entry remained vulnerable to human trafficking and international crime. Instability in Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Congo resulted in an increase in migrants during 2009. With U.S. assistance, Zambia has sent a number of law enforcement officers to the International Law Enforcement Academy in Botswana to learn and understand better methods to challenge illegal border crossing.
The Zambian Government does not have an internationally compliant anti-money laundering or counterterrorist financing regime, but the Zambian Government has announced its intentions to create a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) within the Bank of Zambia that meets international standards.
Zimbabwean Government agencies routinely provided assistance by conducting investigative inquiries, traces, and border checks of individuals thought to be threats to U.S. Government facilities or personnel. Zimbabwe’s continued economic decline, however, has had a detrimental impact on local law enforcement and national security elements responsible for implementing and coordinating counterterrorism efforts. The Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill, enacted in August 2007 to combat terrorism and mercenary activities in Zimbabwe, was redirected to suppress opponents of Zimbabwe’s political leaders and policies. Although generally cooperative, Zimbabwean law enforcement officials have been reluctant to take or recommend actions that would be seen as pro-American. This has undermined efforts to foster greater cooperation.
 In 2000, Da Silva escaped from a French prison where he had been incarcerated for participating in a Paris-area bombing. According to media reports, the French Directorate-General for External Security believes Da Silva contacted terrorist organizations throughout North Africa after his escape and then sought refuge in Cape Verde, where he attempted to establish a terrorist cell.
 The Cape Verdean constitution forbids extradition of its citizens, and some speculate that Da Silva claimed citizenship when he arrived in Cape Verde specifically to obtain this protection.
 Boko Haram is Hausa for "education is sin." The sinful or forbidden "education" is commonly understood to mean western education.