Chapter 2. Country Reports: Africa Overview
The Africa region experienced significant levels of terrorist activity in 2013. In East Africa, the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab remained the primary terrorist threat. Somali security forces and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) continued to make gains against al-Shabaab in 2013, but an inability to undertake consistent offensive operations against the group allowed al-Shabaab to develop and carry out asymmetric attacks, including outside of Somalia. Most notably, al-Shabaab launched an attack against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21 that left at least 65 people dead. The attack, which targeted innocent civilians, was claimed by al-Shabaab as a response to the involvement of Kenyan armed forces units in Somalia, who in late 2012 expelled al-Shabaab from the port city of Kismayo, a major revenue source for al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab issued persistent threats to other countries contributing troops to AMISOM. Driven out of major urban areas, al-Shabaab has returned to a strategy focused on asymmetric attacks intended to discredit and destabilize the nascent Federal Government of Somalia. In 2013, the United States continued to support AMISOM and the establishment of a stable Somali government, and worked to enhance counterterrorism capacity in Somalia and throughout the broader region.
Various East African countries continued to detect, deter, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute terrorist incidents; enhance domestic and regional efforts to bolster border security; and create integrated and dedicated counterterrorism strategies. Counterterrorism cooperation across the region picked up following the Westgate attack and nations began to examine their procedures for responding to attacks on soft targets.
In West Africa, conflict in Nigeria continued throughout the northern part of the country, with Boko Haram and related actors committing hundreds of attacks, reportedly resulting in over a thousand casualties in 2013 alone. This violence reportedly spilled over into neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
French and allied African forces successfully disrupted and pushed back efforts by al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other violent extremist groups to control northern Mali. In August, successful elections took place in Mali and a regional African peacekeeping force was installed with Western support to restore stability and governance to the country. France and other international partners continue to contribute forces to the region to assist the Malian government to rebuild and to deter terrorist threats. Western efforts to increase counterterrorism capacity in the region were focused in 2013 on enhanced border security, regional information sharing and cooperation, and countering violent extremism.
TRANS-SAHARA COUNTERTERRORISM PARTNERSHIP
Established in 2005, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a U.S.-funded and implemented, multi-faceted, multi-year effort designed to build the capacity and cooperation of military, law enforcement, and civilian actors across North and West Africa to counter terrorism. Areas of support include: (1) enabling and enhancing the capacity of North and West African militaries to conduct counterterrorism operations; (2) integrating the ability of North and West African militaries and other supporting partners to operate regionally and collaboratively on counterterrorism efforts; (3) enhancing individual nations’ border security capacity to monitor, restrain, and interdict terrorist movements; (4) strengthening the rule of law, including access to justice, and law enforcement’s ability to detect, disrupt, respond to, investigate, and prosecute terrorist activity; (5) monitoring and countering the financing of terrorism (such as that related to kidnapping for ransom); and (6) reducing the limited sympathy and support among communities for violent extremism.
TSCTP partners include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon (joined in 2014), Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
TSCTP has been successful in building capacity and cooperation despite setbacks caused by coups d’état, ethnic rebellions, and extra-constitutional actions that have interrupted work and progress with select partner countries. For example, U.S. training and equipment have assisted Mauritania in monitoring its border with Mali and sustaining professional units for operations against AQIM. Similarly, training and equipment have supported Niger’s efforts to protect its borders and respond to terrorist incidents. While assistance to Mali under TSCTP was suspended following the March 2012 military coup that overthrew Mali’s democratically elected government, that suspension ended on September 6, 2013, following successful elections in that country.
Several TSCTP programs have worked to counter violent extremist radicalization and recruitment of youth, including educational and training courses in Algeria and Morocco, and extensive youth employment and outreach programs, community development, and media activities in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad.
THE PARTNERSHIP FOR REGIONAL EAST AFRICA COUNTERTERRORISM
Established in 2009, PREACT is a U.S.-funded and implemented multi-year, multi-faceted program designed to build the capacity and cooperation of military, law enforcement, and civilian actors across East Africa to counter terrorism. It uses law enforcement, military, and development resources to achieve its strategic objectives, including (1) reducing the operational capacity of terrorist networks, (2) developing a rule of law framework for countering terrorism in partner nations, (3) enhancing border security, (4) countering the financing of terrorism, and (5) reducing the appeal of radicalization and recruitment to violent extremism. PREACT member countries include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
In 2013, the U.S. government, through PREACT, continued to build the capacity and resilience of East African governments to contain the spread of, and counter the threat posed by, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabaab, and other violent extremist organizations. PREACT complements the U.S. government’s dedicated efforts to promote stability and governance in Somalia, including support for AMISOM. For example, training and equipment have assisted Djibouti in monitoring its land and maritime border with Somalia and supporting professional units in operations against al-Shabaab. Similarly, training and equipment for light infantry, technical intelligence, and crisis response units have supported Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda’s efforts to protect their borders and respond to terrorist incidents.
Overview: In 2013, the Government of Burkina Faso aggressively undertook measures to combat the regional danger posed by terrorist organizations, specifically al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). It also responded to potential threats; and continued to stress the importance of international cooperation in defeating terrorism. The Government of Burkina Faso has recognized the importance of regional stability as an element in the fight against terrorism, and as a result has played an important regional role in finding a political solution to the conflict in Mali.
Burkina Faso is a strong U.S. security and defense partner in the region and continued to receive substantial training and material support for counterterrorism efforts through its participation in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and multinational peacekeeping efforts. U.S. assistance facilitated the establishment of a 1,000-person border security task force, and the training and equipping of a military counterterrorist unit. Burkina Faso also contributed a peacekeeping battalion and police unit to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
As a result of a heightened general threat of retaliation following the French-led military intervention in Mali, the Government of Burkina Faso increased its security posture at diplomatic facilities and at major public events. Unconfirmed reports indicated the possibility of violent extremist elements entering Burkina Faso’s northern region, notably its refugee camps, either for safe haven or to extend their operational reach. In response, the Burkinabè military deployed a joint counterterrorist task force of soldiers and gendarmes to assist in the management of refugees, gather intelligence, secure key infrastructure, and interdict terrorist activity.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Burkina Faso implemented the Terrorism Suppression Law of 2009, modeled after French law, which criminalizes a wide range of terrorist-related activities and imposes criminal punishment of up to life in prison. However, no one had been charged under the law by year’s end.
Burkina Faso’s police and gendarmerie were hindered by a chronic lack of training, specialized tactical equipment, and personnel. There was a lack of interagency coordination and intelligence sharing between the gendarmerie, which falls under the Ministry of Defense, and police agencies, which all operate under the authority of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Security. The gendarmerie has specialized units which conduct investigations, respond to crises, and protect the nation’s borders, but is too small to be effective throughout the country. The National Police, who are likely to be first responders, lag far behind the gendarmerie in training and equipment. There is a lack of information technology resources to assist criminal investigation, manage cases, and share intelligence.
The Government of Burkina Faso took several steps to improve its capabilities, however. In January, the government ordered the creation of a new police unit charged with counterterrorism; and in March, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Security announced a 50 percent increase in recruitment of national police in 2014 to respond to growing security issues.
The U.S. government, through the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, has provided assistance to the National Police since 2010. In 2013, Burkinabè officials were trained in crime scene investigations and post-blast evidence recovery. In 2013, 26 police officers, gendarmes, and criminal prosecutors participated in four International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) courses, including the six-week Law Enforcement Executive Development course. In February, the U.S. government provided non-lethal tactical equipment to the National Police’s Multipurpose Intervention Unit.
With the support of the United States, the Government of Burkina Faso installed the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) biometric traveler database at the airport in Ouagadougou.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Burkina Faso is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. A recent FATF/GIABA West Africa terrorist finance case study featured a case from Burkina Faso involving cash couriers and arms smugglers operating in Burkina Faso and Nigeria. Burkina Faso has an extremely small formal banking sector which makes cash and other informal value systems significant risks for abuse by terrorists. While the Ministry of Finance’s financial intelligence unit, CENTIF, collects and processes financial information on money laundering and terrorist financing, it lacks adequate human and information technology resources to identify and prosecute significant money laundering, which is likely occurring. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Burkina Faso is active in regional organizations and international bodies, including the UN, AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). In April, Burkina Faso and Denmark co-hosted a regional workshop on countering violent extremism in Ouagadougou to gain insights on concrete programming ideas from partners. In October, Burkina Faso hosted another regional workshop for the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
The Government of Burkina Faso played a leading role in finding a political solution to the conflict in Mali. President Blaise Compaore, as ECOWAS mediator, led negotiations between northern Malian groups and the interim government in Bamako that culminated in the Ouagadougou Accord in June, paving the way for successful presidential elections in July.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Burkina Faso is a majority-Muslim country, where the predominant form of practice of Sunni Islam is not conducive to violent extremism. The country is often mentioned as an example of religious tolerance. Religious leaders regularly denounce violence and call for peaceful coexistence of all religions, and civil society organizations play an active role in mitigating religious conflict. The Burkinabè government encourages regular and ongoing inter-faith dialogues. In 2013, the government of Burkina Faso enthusiastically welcomed several international countering violent extremism efforts, including programs led by the United States, Denmark, and the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation.
Overview: Burundi has demonstrated a commitment to addressing international terrorism and contributed six battalions to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). A counterterrorism cell, formed in 2010, consists of elements of the police, military, and the National Intelligence Service. In the aftermath of the September 2013 al-Shabaab attack in Nairobi, the Burundian National Police (BNP) conducted several counterterrorism operations throughout the country in an attempt to disrupt and dismantle potential terrorist operations. However, the BNP are hampered by a lack of training, resources, and infrastructure. In addition, the BNP has focused counterterrorism efforts on the Muslim community and foreigners in Burundi, rather than basing actions on operational intelligence. This reflects the BNP’s belief that these groups pose the greatest terrorist threat to Burundi.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Burundi has provisions in its penal code defining forms of terrorism. Sentences for acts of terrorism range from 10 to 20 years in prison to life imprisonment if the act results in the death of a person. Burundi continued its participation in the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program and the International Law Enforcement Academy. Through ATA, Burundian National Police received training in 2013 to bolster its leadership and management skills and to build investigative capacity.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Burundi is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. This gap prevents any overall assessment of the risks the country faces in regards to terrorist financing. While the government has created counterterrorist financing laws, it has yet to commit funding, provide training, or implement policies. Very few people in the country have access to the formal banking sector. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Burundi is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism; and as such, has received funding for military and law enforcement counterterrorism training. Burundi has cooperated with neighboring countries to exchange information on suspected terrorists. Burundi has also contributed six battalions to AMISOM to stabilize the situation in Somalia.
Overview: The Government of Cameroon considers countering terrorism and violent extremism a top security priority, and worked with the United States in 2013 to improve the capacity of its security forces. The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram (BH) took advantage of weaknesses in Cameroon’s border security and conducted several terrorist acts in Cameroon’s far north region in 2013, including targeted killings and kidnappings of Cameroonians and expatriates. Cameroon responded to the attacks with an increased security presence in its northern regions.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: In 2013, BH was responsible for targeted killings of Cameroonians and Nigerians living in Cameroon in the villages of Kouseri and Kolofata. The exact number of casualties attributable to BH is unknown. BH operatives were involved in the following incidents:
- In February, BH claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a family of seven French citizens in the far north region of Cameroon. BH assailants seized the family near Waza National Park and took the hostages to Nigeria before they were eventually released two months later. There were no casualties. The media reported that a ransom was paid to secure their release.
- In November, BH members kidnapped a French priest near the town of Koza, in the far north region of Cameroon. The assailants invaded the priest’s home and took him to Nigeria before releasing him six weeks later. The conditions required to secure his release are unknown.
- In December, BH gunmen attacked civilians in several areas of the far north region.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Cameroon relies on various provisions in its penal code to respond to possible terrorist acts. These include sanctions for efforts to undermine state authority, threats to public and individual safety, the destruction of property, threats to the safety of civil aviation and maritime navigation, hostage taking, and the regulation of firearms and explosive substances.
Significant political will to combat terrorism exists in Cameroon, but efforts were hampered by limited capabilities, corruption, and a lack of coordination among Cameroonian law enforcement and security forces. Cameroon’s law enforcement entities involved in counterterrorism activities include the general Army, the Battalion d'Intervention Rapide (BIR), and the Gendarme. Although recent terrorist threats have targeted the far north region of Cameroon, there is no dedicated border police unit; rather, the border police are rotated into duty from the general police force. Gendarmes and police are often the initial responders to terrorist situations, but the BIR maintains superior counterterrorism capabilities and is often called upon to provide support to potential terrorist incidents. Once the situation is secure, control of security incidents is returned to local police units for appropriate action. Cooperation among law enforcement entities is in need of improvement.
In 2013, Cameroon received U.S. training to improve its counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts. The U.S. government has provided training to Cameroon in counterterrorism tactics, first aid, land navigation, and advanced marksmanship. Training is conducted with Cameroonian security forces, and has contributed to numerous arrests of suspected BH terrorists. The training also emphasizes professionalism of security forces and humanitarian assistance, which leads to trust within the local population.
In August 2013, Cameroon launched production of a regional biometric passport to facilitate the free movement of people and provide enhanced security for residents of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) zone. In response to terrorist incidents in 2013, Cameroon also reinforced its border security by establishing control posts and deploying additional military units and gendarmes to the far north region of the country.
Cameroonian military and police units proactively confronted and disrupted suspected members of BH in the far north region. Some suspects that fled on motorbike to neighboring Nigeria were arrested or killed by Cameroonian civilians or law enforcement. However, there were no terrorism-related prosecutions by the end of 2013.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cameroon is a member of the Central African Action Group against Money Laundering (GABAC), which enjoys Financial Action Task Force observer status. Through its membership in CEMAC, Cameroon has adopted a legislative architecture to address the issues of anti-money laundering and financial supervision. It has a financial intelligence unit, the National Financial Investigation Agency (ANIF), which processes suspicious transaction reports and initiates investigations. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Cameroon actively participates in AU peacekeeping operations, and its military schools train soldiers and gendarmes from neighboring countries. Cameroonian naval and special operations forces work with their counterparts from Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea and improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. While cooperation with Nigeria had been mainly at the working level between unit commanders, there are increasing signs of willingness to cooperate with Nigeria on counterterrorism, as evidenced by participation in U.S.-sponsored regional exercises.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Cameroonian authorities have taken a series of measures to address radicalization to violence and to counter violent extremism, including participating in meetings with local administrative and religious officials, and forming partnerships with local, traditional, and religious leaders to monitor preaching in mosques.
Overview: The Government of Chad was a strong counterterrorism partner in 2013 and is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Countering international terrorist threats to Chad were priorities at the highest levels of Chad’s government, with a particular focus on countering potential terrorist threats from across the Sahel region. Chad has a counterterrorism strategy, which focuses on promoting regional stability and securing its borders. The Chadian government strengthened border patrols along the border with Sudan and in the Lake Chad region.
The Chadian Army’s Special Antiterrorism Group (SATG), which has received U.S. training, has a national security mandate. The SATG is effective in counterterrorism operations with a specific focus on border security and interdiction of illicit goods trafficking, but faces a number of logistical challenges. In 2013, the SATG increased surveillance of the northern border with Libya and the unit was deployed to Mali and the Central African Republic.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Chadian criminal law does not explicitly criminalize terrorism. However, certain general provisions of the Penal Code (1967) have been used to prosecute acts of terrorism. Chadian law enforcement has demonstrated a limited but effective capacity to detect, deter, and respond to potential terrorist incidents. Some Chadian units have limited investigations, crisis response, and border security capacity. Law enforcement units display basic command and control capacity. Specialized law enforcement units possess some necessary equipment but have many unfulfilled needs.
Border security is a common interest for the U.S. government and Chad. In 2013, Chad participated in the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Sahel Cross-Border Workshop in Niamey.
In the law enforcement sector, the United States has provided Chad with training and technical assistance through the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program in the areas of building law enforcement border security, investigations, and crisis response capabilities. Chad also worked with the United States to reduce the threat from Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) and other conventional weapons sought by terrorists.
Chad worked in collaboration with the U.S. government to implement biometric screening as part of the Terrorist Interdiction Program/Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). In 2013, the United States, working with Chadian authorities, deployed the first state-of-the-art PISCES border security system at the N’Djamena airport, and expanded PISCES systems to additional Ports of Entry in late 2013.
In 2013, Chadian security forces executed several cordon and search operations in the Lake Chad region, extending south to the capital, in an effort to prevent spillover from ongoing security operations on the opposite side of Lake Chad undertaken by the Nigerian government directed against Boko Haram.
The Government of Chad also established the Antiterrorism Brigade in 2013, which has two permanent officers and borrows officers from the organized crime brigade as needed. The Chadian government is currently working with the governments of Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Libya to form border commissions and joint task forces to better control their borders. In particular, Chad works in cooperation with Sudan on a mixed-force border patrol, which has enabled the two countries to better monitor and control their joint border.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Chad is a member of the Action Group Against Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), an observer to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with the same mandate and status as a FATF-style regional body. GABAC works directly with Chad’s financial intelligence unit, the National Financial Investigative Agency (ANIF). ANIF is hindered by serious resource constraints, and law enforcement and customs officials need training in financial crimes enforcement.
Chad’s financial sector is underdeveloped and lacks sufficient capacity to enforce banking regulations. Financial intelligence reporting and analysis is limited. Additionally, law enforcement and customs officials require training in financial crimes enforcement. Several banks voluntarily report suspicious transactions, but the practice is not universal as there is no regulation requiring banks to report them. The national entity charged with monitoring money laundering is understaffed and lacks sophisticated equipment to perform its activities effectively. Although it maintains working relationships with commercial banks, it does not monitor wire transfers, SMS mobile money transfers, or other money transfer channels such as hawala brokers.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Chad participated in the GCTF’s Sahel Region Capacity Building Working Group in October in Niamey, Niger. This included Chad serving on the committee that made recommendations to strengthen capacity building of member states, and the committee on securing land borders. Chad also participated in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), providing 2,000 troops to assist French and Malian armed forces combat terrorists in northern Mali.
Chad supports counterterrorism capacity building in other states through the GCTF. In January, Chad sent 2,000 troops to participate in the Mali intervention to help French and Malian armed forces defeat a jihadist movement that occupied the northern region. Chad conducted counterterrorist operations including the killing of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a senior commander of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). At year’s end, Chad was still participating in peacekeeping efforts in northern Mali, where it has deployed 1,200 troops.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Chad participated in targeted projects to counter violent extremism through the TSCTP; specific activities have included building the capacity of national civil society organizations, community engagement, youth empowerment, promotion of interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance, and media and outreach work. President Deby instructs the High Council for Islamic Affairs to monitor religious activities closely in mosques to counter violent extremism and radicalization to violence.
In 2013, many of President Déby’s public addresses advocated for peaceful cohabitation and religious tolerance. For example, during speeches on the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr (August 8) and Eid al-Adha (October 15), the president called for Chadians to reject violent Islamist extremism. Leaders from the country’s principal religious organizations uniformly supported the policies the president articulated.
Weekly community radio broadcasts, sponsored by the USAID-funded Peace through Development (PDev II) program, are aimed at countering violent extremism and encourage moderation, tolerance, and youth engagement. The Government of Chad fully endorses the program and was working to develop a strategy to take over ownership and ensure continuation of CVE broadcasts upon project completion in 2016.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Overview: Despite the limited threat of violent Islamist extremism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the government has indicated serious concern about the threat of terrorism spreading throughout the region and has responded adequately to concerns. The DRC is a vast country bordered by nine neighbors; the Government of the DRC lacks complete control over some areas of its territory, especially in the East where various armed groups operate.
The three principal foreign armed groups operating in the DRC and posing a threat to security and stability are a Ugandan group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (known by its French acronym as FDLR), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For most of 2013, the M23 was the deadliest armed group in the East, assassinating local leaders and killing and otherwise intimidating civilians. The M23 was militarily defeated in November of 2013 by the Congolese military, with UN peacekeeping support. While no longer the military threat to the Rwandan government it once was, the FDLR contributed to the destabilization of the eastern DRC through its atrocities against the local civilian population and residual potential for small-scale attacks inside Rwanda.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: Following a decrease in ADF attacks in 2012 and 2013 during the M23 rebellion, on December 13 and 14, the ADF reportedly killed 21 civilians in Beni Territory, North Kivu by hacking and beheading them with machetes. The ADF is also believed to be responsible for similar attacks on civilians in the same area, primarily women and children, in November. The Government of the DRC remains very concerned about the activities of this group and initiated a military campaign against it in late 2013.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported 164 presumed LRA attacks in 2013 in the DRC, resulting in 37 deaths and 180 abductions.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The DRC has no comprehensive counterterrorism legislation, but a 2001 presidential decree established a National Committee for the Coordination of Anti-International Terrorism within a counterterrorism office in its Ministry of Interior. The DRC President identified the elimination of the ADF, FDLR, Burundian National Front, and the LRA as the highest security priorities following the end of the M23 rebellion in November. The DRC government has made statements indicating that denying safe haven to the LRA remains a matter of great importance and has contributed to international efforts to eradicate the LRA in the DRC, notably by dedicating 400 FARDC troops to the AU-Regional Task Force.
The DRC government lacks the resources to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism outside of narrow, small scale attacks in the eastern DRC. The national police and the intelligence services are identified as the primary lines of defense against terrorism under 2011 foundational legislation restructuring security services in the DRC.
The DRC government made some progress on its border security management program through training funded by the UN Stabilization Mission in the Congo and the international community in personal identification and recognition systems, border patrolling, and investigative procedures.
The DRC government has shown political will to cooperate with the U.S. on counterterrorism efforts despite a lack of resources.
Though threat of violent Islamist extremism in the country is limited, the government has shown the political will and ability to respond to the small-scale, localized threats that occurred in 2013. The government’s response, however, focused on military action rather than law enforcement, and weaknesses in border security allowed illicit crossing of people and goods.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The DRC is not a member of any Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In 2011, the DRC signed a mutual assistance agreement with Belgium’s CTIF (Cellule des Traitements des Informations Financières).
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has legislation criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as a financial intelligence unit (CENAREF). Many banks installed new computerized communications and accounting networks, which made it easier to trace formal financial transactions. Limited resources and a weak judicial system hampered the government’s ability to enforce anti-money laundering regulations, however, and local institutions and personnel lacked the training and capacity to enforce the law and its attendant regulations fully.
The DRC is home to a large Lebanese expatriate community, some of whom ran businesses reportedly linked to Hizballah funding. CENAREF received 145 suspicious transaction reports in 2013. CENAREF had 161 files for which the collection of information is continuing. CENAREF has also received 96 cases from other institutions or other sources. In 2013, the Government of the DRC had two money laundering convictions, which are a good reflection of the country’s ability to tackle illicit financial flows. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Government of the DRC continued to cooperate with neighboring states, especially the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Uganda, to counter LRA threats, as well as with Uganda on the ADF threat.
Overview: Djibouti remained an active and cooperative counterterrorism partner in 2013. Djibouti hosts Camp Lemonnier, which serves as headquarters to the U.S. Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. Enhancing the capacity of its law enforcement agencies and deploying soldiers to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were the focus of Djibouti’s efforts to counter terrorism in 2013. Djibouti received significant capacity building assistance in the way of counterterrorism training and equipment provided by the United States through a variety of courses and programs.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Due to its geographic location and porous borders, counterterrorism remained a high priority for all Djiboutian law enforcement entities. Djibouti has a legal framework for prosecuting terrorism-related crimes and tries terrorists in criminal courts using its penal code. In 2013, Djibouti did not prosecute any terrorism-related cases.
Djibouti’s most visible counterterrorism efforts were ad hoc checkpoints and cordon-and-search operations within the capital city, and an increased emphasis at border control points to screen for potential security threats. In April, Djibouti amended its Technical Committee in charge of the Fight against Terrorism, created in October 2001, by adding an eighth member from the Coast Guard.
Djibouti continued to process travelers on entry and departure at its international airport and seaport with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System (PISCES). While the airport and seaport are important entry points, the vast majority of travelers cross into Djibouti by land at one of three land border points, including one point on the Somali border.
Djiboutian law enforcement personnel acknowledged the difficulty of securing the coast and land borders; however, the Djiboutian Coast Guard’s capacity to patrol the coastline was significantly increased by the donation of two patrol boats by the Japanese government, and a U.S.-funded 33-foot patrol boat. The U.S. government also provided a consultation on Maritime Movement Operations through the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program to augment law enforcement’s ability to patrol its waters. With such training, the new vessels have enhanced the capacity of the Coast Guard, and the U.S.-funded patrol boat has significantly extended the range of coastline that the Coast Guard can patrol. Patrolling the land borders, however, remained a concern. The Djiboutian National Police has control over border checkpoints, and the Djibouti Armed Forces was responsible for patrolling the border. Officials at Djiboutian National Police-manned checkpoints were susceptible to bribes.
Following the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, the Government of Djibouti enhanced its protection of potential soft targets throughout the country. While the ability of Djibouti to protect these sites over the long-term will be a challenge, the Djiboutian National Police and Gendarmerie have done an admirable job of developing plans to protect popular hotels and stores in Djibouti City. In 2013, the Government of Djibouti’s ability to respond to a terrorist attack, specifically an improvised explosive device, was significantly enhanced. The Djiboutian National Police and Gendarmes received post-blast investigations training from the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, as well as from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Djibouti received significant law enforcement counterterrorism capacity building through the ATA program, including training and equipment on border security issues, leadership and management, and crisis response issues.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Djibouti’s request for observer status at the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force remained pending at year’s end. The country plays an important role regionally and has a more developed formal financial sector than some of its neighbors.
The Central Bank of Djibouti houses a financial intelligence unit (FIU), known as the Fraud Investigation Unit. Given its very limited resources including lack of staff, the FIU is unable to perform its core functions and instead focuses on banking supervision. The FIU has made no case referrals to law enforcement involving suspected terrorist financing. In March, FIU staff attended two trainings related to regulatory supervision: “Security in the Gulf of Aden” held in Yemen and “Global Counterterrorism” held in Ethiopia. In addition, FIU staff participated in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Security Sector Program held in April to harmonize counterterrorism laws among IGAD’s eight East African country members.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Djibouti is a member of the AU and has deployed troops to AMISOM. In April, Djibouti sent a delegation to Sanaa, Yemen, for the Gulf of Aden Counterterrorism Forum – a regional meeting that brings together counterterrorism officials from Djibouti, Somalia, and Yemen to discuss shared challenges. Djibouti is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Most of the Government of Djibouti’s strategic communications efforts are focused on youth. In response to a growing youth violence problem, members of Parliament and representatives of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs held monthly meetings in Djibouti’s low-income neighborhoods. The Ministry of Youth and Sports organized sports leagues to engage youth in positive activities.
Overview: Eritrea did not experience any major acts of international terrorism in 2013. The Government of Eritrea claimed that it sought to be a partner in the war on terrorism. Eritrean officials in Asmara, at the UN, and at the AU issued statements and told U.S officials that they wanted to move out of a long period of regional isolation and animosity. Eritrean officials engaged with some neighboring states, as well as nations in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to discuss regional stability, counterterrorism cooperation, and regional initiatives to counter transnational challenges. The Eritrean Foreign Minister expressed public dismay at al-Shabaab’s September 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. However, Ethiopia and other nations in East Africa continued to accuse Eritrea of sponsoring armed groups destabilizing the region. The Eritrean government, for its part, continued to deny the accusations and, in return, levied charges that Ethiopia-supported groups continued to pursue the violent overthrow of the Eritrean regime. Eritrea’s lack of commitment to regional stability reduced opportunities for counterterrorism cooperation or dialogue.
In May, the United States re-certified Eritrea as “not cooperating fully” with U.S. counterterrorism efforts under Section 40A of the Arms Export and Control Act, as amended. In considering this annual determination, the Department of State reviewed Eritrea’s overall level of cooperation with U.S. efforts to combat terrorism, taking into account U.S. counterterrorism objectives and a realistic assessment of Eritrean capabilities.
The Government of Eritrea has been under UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions since December 2009. UNSCR 1907 (2009) imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea and a travel ban and asset freeze on some military and political leaders, calling on the nation to “cease arming, training and equipping armed groups and their members, including al-Shabaab, that aim to destabilize the region.”
In July, the UNSC called on Eritrea to begin cooperating with the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), so that the body could determine the veracity of regional claims about Eritrean assistance to regional destabilizers. Refusal of the Government of Eritrea to hold substantive discussions with the SEMG, on grounds that the sanctions regime aimed simply to “humiliate” Eritrea and that the international community had turned a blind eye to Ethiopian misdeeds, prevented international investigations of charges against Eritrea. In December, Eritrean officials met with the SEMG in Paris in what the latter termed a productive meeting; subsequent confidence-building sessions have been scheduled for 2014.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Articles 259-264, 269-270, and 282 of the Eritrean Penal Code, grandfathered into present-day law from 1957, criminalize terrorist methods; measures of intimidation or terror; acts of conspiracy carried out by organized armed bands; use of arms, means, or support from foreign organizations; the use of bombs, dynamite, explosives or other terrorist methods constituting a public danger; genocide; and war crimes against the civilian population. Other sections of Eritrean law could also be used to prosecute terrorism, including acts related to: offenses against public safety, property, the state, national interests, and international interests; attacks on the independence of the state; impairment of the defensive power of the state; high treason; economic treason; collaboration; and provocation and preparation.
Entities including the Eritrean Defense Forces, National Security Agency, Police, Immigration and Customs authorities all potentially have counterterrorism responsibilities. Chain of command may work effectively within some security and law enforcement elements, but there are rivalries between and overlaps of responsibility among the various forces. Many soldiers, police officers, and immigration and customs agents are young national service recruits or assignees, who are performing their jobs without adequate training.
Eritrea closely monitors passenger manifests for any flights coming into Asmara, and scrutinizes travel documents of visitors, but does not collect biometric data. Government officials lack training and technology to recognize fraudulent documents. The Government of Eritrea does not share information gathered at ports of entry with the United States. Eritrea’s borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti are tightly controlled, whereas the border with Sudan is porous in some places, resulting in a considerable amount of unrecorded movement across by persons across the border.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Eritrea is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. This gap prevents any overall assessment of the risks the country faces in regards to terrorist financing. Eritrea’s general lack of transparency on banking, financial, and economic matters made the gathering of definitive information difficult. The United States is unaware of passage and/or implementation of counterterrorist finance-related legislation in 2013. Article 263 of the Penal Code criminalizes economic treason.
The United States is unaware of whether the government routinely distributes UN lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities to financial institutions. The Government of Eritrea’s longstanding policy of self-reliance and self-imposed isolation predispose it to reject non-indigenous regulatory arrangements and it is reluctant to cooperate with sanctions regimes. In addition, it lacks laws, resources, financial checks and balances, and an independent, properly-trained judiciary.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Eritrea is a member of the AU, and would like to reactivate its membership in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); however, Eritrea’s return to IGAD is opposed by Ethiopia and by Djibouti, both of whom have had military conflicts with Eritrea in recent years.
Overview: The Government of Ethiopia viewed instability in Somalia as a critical national security threat and maintained a defensive military presence along the Somali border to stem potential infiltration of violent extremists into Ethiopia. Ethiopian military forces continued counterterrorism operations in Somalia in partnership with the Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and were instrumental in combating al-Shabaab in southern and central Somalia. At the end of 2013, Ethiopia committed to having its troops join AMISOM. The Ethiopian government remained concerned about groups it has designated domestically as terrorist groups, including the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Ginbot 7. The Ethiopian government collaborated with the United States on a number of regional security issues.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: On October 13, two suspected al-Shabaab operatives, identified by the Ethiopian government as Somali nationals, detonated an explosives-laden vest while preparing for a suicide attack against an unspecified target in Addis Ababa, killing both operatives. Police immediately detained at least three individuals associated with the plot, and announced in December that five additional suspects had been arrested.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Ethiopian government passed the Antiterrorism Proclamation (ATP) in 2009, followed by legislation in 2011 designating five organizations as terrorist groups – including al-Qa’ida (AQ), al-Shabaab, the ONLF, OLF, and Ginbot 7. While the ATP has been used to prosecute and convict a small number of individuals associated with terrorist activity, it has also been used to prosecute and convict journalists, opposition political figures, and activists. International observers, including the U.S. government, have also raised concerns over the conduct of other trials against members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community where evidence presented appeared to be indicative of acts of a political nature rather than terrorism.
Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigations, and is responsible for overall counterterrorism management. The Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) work with the NISS on counterterrorism issues. To improve its counterterrorism capacity, Ethiopia participated in programs funded through the U.S. Department of State’s Regional Strategic Initiative and Antiterrorism Assistance program (ATA). Through ATA, Ethiopia received training and related equipment to support capacity building on leadership and management, border security, and investigative skill development.
Ethiopia employed biometric security measures at international airports and most major points of entry, and is continuing to add such capabilities at additional border crossings.
Significant law enforcement actions included:
- In February, the Ethiopian government reported that security personnel had disrupted a nascent al-Shabaab offshoot cell in Ethiopia named Hareketul Shebabil Fi Biladel Hijeraiten.
- In March, the Ethiopian government announced that security personnel had arrested eight al-Shabaab members accused of plotting to kidnap UN workers.
- In April, prosecutors charged 28 individuals (11 of whom were charged in absentia) under the Antiterrorism Proclamation for alleged links to AQ and al-Shabaab. Trial proceedings were temporarily closed to the public in July after prosecution witnesses expressed concerns about their personal safety; legal proceedings were reopened October 29 and were ongoing at year’s end.
Lack of experience among police, prosecutors, and judges with regard to terrorism incidents and cases remained a challenge. The Ethiopian government has expressed interest in and willingness to engage with foreign governments and international bodies to improve its capabilities in these areas.
In November, three Ethiopian police analysts participated in a capacity building program in Kenya to train with regional counterparts to combat al-Shabaab. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation provided training to Ethiopian counterparts on improvised explosives device analysis, and on techniques and methods used by al-Shabaab.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: In 2013,Ethiopia became a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), an associate member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and a regional FATF-style body. In October, the FATF called attention to the country’s failure to meet its agreed action plan and called for additional work on its deficiencies: to establish and implement an adequate legal framework and procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets; and improve customer due-diligence measures. Its membership in the ESAAMLG could facilitate the country to conduct a formal risk assessment of its vulnerabilities; the lack of such a strategic approach has been highlighted by experts as a major gap.
Although terrorist financing is criminalized, prosecutions are rare. In 2013, the National Bank of Ethiopia froze and confiscated assets allegedly used in planning terrorist acts. The Charities and Societies Agency is responsible for monitoring NGOs, but has limited expertise in the area of terrorist finance.
Regional and International Cooperation: Ethiopia is a member of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. Ethiopia participated in regional and multilateral forums for counterterrorism, including IGAD Security Sector Program trainings, which build the capacity of IGAD member states to mitigate, detect, and deter terrorist activity. Ethiopia was an active participant in AU counterterrorism efforts, which included activities of the Center for Study and Research on Terrorism and meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.
Overview: Kenya is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, and is a strong ally of the United States in the fight against al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida (AQ). The September 2013 al-Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall focused the world’s attention on Kenya and Kenyan counterterrorism efforts, highlighting significant shortcomings in the Kenyan security forces’ response. The attack appeared to strengthen Kenyan resolve to fight al-Shabaab, including increased operations by Kenya Defense Forces units under the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In October, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced his intention to appoint a commission of inquiry into Westgate “lapses and how we can avoid them in the future,” but no such report had been released publicly by year’s end.
Kenya’s counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and other partner nations remained strong: the Kenyan government welcomed substantial U.S. assistance in the post-Westgate investigation and requested additional support on border security and other issues following Westgate.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: Official figures on the Westgate attack listed 65 civilians, six soldiers and police officers, and four terrorists among the dead. Hundreds more were injured and 27 people were listed as missing by the Kenyan Red Cross. Most Westgate victims were citizens of Kenya, along with multiple victims from the UK, India, Canada and France; and single victims from Australia, China, Ghana, the Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, and Trinidad and Tobago. Al-Shabaab publicly claimed responsibility for the Westgate attack, as well as for three attacks in Garissa in May and August, and an attack in Wajir in September. Ten individuals died in these other attacks (including several police officers and a Red Cross official), dozens more were injured, and two police officers were abducted.
Other unclaimed attacks by individuals or groups appearing to be sympathetic to al-Shabaab or AQ included numerous shootings, grenade, and improvised explosive device attacks against security forces, aid workers, civilians, and refugees in hotels, restaurants, mosques, and vehicles. Hardest hit areas were the northeast border counties of Garissa (including the Dadaab refugee camps), Mandera, and Wajir, but attacks also took place in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Lamu counties.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Kenya’s 2012 Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2011 Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, and 2010 Prevention of Organized Crime Act together provided a strong legal framework under which to prosecute acts of terrorism. Kenya’s National Assembly passed no new general legislation on terrorism in 2013, but new amendments to the landmark 2012 Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) were passed in 2013 that strengthened the criminalization of financing acts of terrorism.
The Kenyan judiciary demonstrated increasing independence and competence, but remained hampered by a lack of key procedural tools to allow effective use of plea agreements, cooperation agreements, electronic evidence and other undercover investigative tools. Nevertheless, courts began trying cases under the 2012 PTA for the first time in late 2013. The first prosecutions under the 2012 PTA were four cases against alleged Westgate accomplices, and they remained ongoing at year’s end. Five other alleged co-conspirators were charged but remained at-large.
Kenyan law enforcement was hampered by limited resources, insufficient training, and endemic corruption. Counterterrorism functions were divided between the three branches of the newly-restructured National Police Service: the Kenya Police (including the investigative Antiterrorism Police Unit and the paramilitary General Services Unit), the Directorate of Criminal Investigation and the Administration Police, and non-police agencies such as the National Intelligence Service and elements of the Kenya Defense Forces. Operational effectiveness was sometimes impeded by poor coordination among and within police, intelligence, and military forces; as well as unclear command, control, and overt political interference. Kenyan authorities identified crisis response and border security as key areas for improvement, and discussed possible additional assistance with partner nations including the United States.
Terrorist screening watchlists, biographic and biometric screening, and other measures were in place at major Kenyan ports of entry. Kenya continued its partnership with the United States to strengthen Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System border controls at major ports of entry, including expanded automatic data transmission capability at frequently traveled sites.
In 2013, Kenya participated in a range of U.S. government-sponsored programs. The U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program focused on building law enforcement capacities in the areas of border security, investigations, and crisis response, and on the institutionalization of counterterrorism prevention and response capabilities. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement assistance was largely dedicated to building the capacity of Kenya’s new Independent Police Accountability Office. DHS Customs and Border Patrol assistance provided multinational training including Kenya for rural border patrol units such as those in the Kenya Police Service and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Despite the challenges, Kenyan police, intelligence, and military agencies regularly detected and disrupted terrorist threats large and small. While the Westgate attack showed glaring gaps in Kenyan command and control and the unsuitability of conventional military forces to respond to a civilian incident such as Westgate, the initial response by the Crisis Response Team of the elite General Service Unit Recce Company was more competent.
Kenyan authorities were generally responsive to requests for assistance from the United States, and cooperated with U.S. counterparts on investigations and in securing the safety of U.S. citizens and interests. Even prior to the passage of the 2012 law, Kenyan authorities began prosecutions in high profile cases of plots targeting Western interests, convicting and sentencing to life in prison Iranians Ahmad Abolfathi and Sayed Mansouri on explosives charges in May, and continuing the ongoing trial of British citizen Jermaine Grant on charges of plotting to kill Western tourists on behalf of AQ.
Although allegations of police abuses – including extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detentions – persist, progress continued on police reforms, including the public vetting of police commanders, which began in late 2013 in an effort to combat endemic police corruption and strengthen weak civilian oversight to increase the effectiveness of Kenyan security sector institutions. Mismanagement, corruption, and lack of capacity on border controls and systems for national identification for citizens, residents, and refugees hampered the ability of law enforcement to identify and detain potential terrorists.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Kenya is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In October, Kenya was recognized by the FATF for progress in improving its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. Key deficiencies remain, however, including: adequately criminalizing terrorist financing; ensuring a fully operational and effectively functioning financial intelligence unit; establishing and implementing an adequate legal framework for the identification and freezing of terrorist assets; and implementing an adequate and effective AML/CFT supervisory program for all financial sectors.
Also in October, the National Assembly passed the 2013 Finance Act containing amendments to the 2012 Prevention of Terrorism Act that strengthened Kenyan legal provision criminalizing the financing of terrorism. In an October 2013 public statement, the FATF praised Kenya for “steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime” but noted that “Kenya should continue to work on implementing its action plan” to address deficiencies in legislation, operational effectiveness, asset identification and freezing, and financial sector supervision. Kenya’s Financial Reporting Center continued to make progress in becoming fully operational but reported no significant prosecutions or seizures and remained hampered by a lack of essential resources including an electronic reporting system for suspicious transactions.
While the Financial Reporting Center made a good start at addressing the formal financial system and expanded the number of reporting entities that it will serve, those efforts did not yet include informal money/value transfer services and exchange houses. The Central Bank of Kenya took steps to encourage more people to use the formal financial sector in order to increase financial integrity by ensuring regulatory oversight. The Financial Reporting Center monitored mobile money transactions to a degree, especially the popular Safaricom Mpesa service, but did not engage with NGOs to file suspicious transaction reports.
Regional and International Cooperation: Kenya is a member of the AU, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the Community of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the East African Community. Kenyan law enforcement agencies worked with these organizations and the broader international community, including the United States, to increase their counterterrorism capacity and secure land, sea, and air borders. Kenya also cooperated with the United States and other nations to secure especially dangerous pathogens and enhance the Kenyan government’s capability to prevent the sale, theft, diversion, or accidental release of chemical, biological, or radiological weapons-related materials, technology, and expertise.
Kenya’s primary contribution to supporting counterterrorism capacity building in other nations was its significant troop contribution to AMISOM. In addition, Kenya hosted numerous trainings involving law enforcement professionals from neighboring nations to build counterterrorism capacities and increase regional cooperation.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Some Kenyan civil society organizations actively worked to address the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism in Kenya, often with assistance from the United States and other international partners; but the Government of Kenya was not engaged in significant efforts in such areas.
Overview: The Government of Mali, both while it was led by an interim government following the March 2012 coup d’état and with a newly elected national government in 2013, has been a willing U.S. counterterrorism partner, if constrained by a number of serious challenges. In 2013, Mali was emerging from a series of events including a January 2012 rebellion in the North, a coup d’état, an attempted counter coup, and the loss of control in the northern two-thirds of the country to violent extremist groups. With the help of a French-African intervention force beginning in January 2013, and the democratic election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2013, the terrorists were pushed out of the major northern cities, and Mali began to address the debilitating effects of the multipronged crises facing the country. The newly elected government reaffirmed longstanding support for counterterrorism cooperation and has been an advocate for enhanced regional cooperation, including through its membership in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).
The January international military intervention led by French Serval forces enabled the Government of Mali to gradually restore control over major northern population centers and begin to deny safe haven to terrorist groups and prevent them from further imposing extreme interpretations of Islamic law, including al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Murabitoun (AMB), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Ansar al-Dine (AAD). French forces have continued working with the Malian government to degrade remaining violent extremist elements in Mali’s vast northern territories. The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission to Mali (MINUSMA) continued to work with the Malian government to facilitate the redeployment of Malian administrators and security forces to the north. Although the ongoing international military intervention has succeeded in wresting control of the north back from violent extremists, these extremist groups have maintained a foothold there and have continued to launch attacks to undermine the security and stability of Mali and its neighbors.
While assistance to Mali had been suspended following the March 2012 military coup that overthrew Mali’s democratically elected government, that suspension ended on September 6, 2013, when the United States resumed development assistance to the Government of Mali after the restoration of democratic government.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: Beginning in January 2013, French Serval forces and the Malian government conducted operations in the northern regions of Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao to counter major terrorist cells of AQIM, MUJAO, and AAD, who occupied the North of the country, held hostages on Malian soil, kidnapped foreigners, and conducted attacks targeting international and Malian military forces. Incidents linked to terrorism included:
- On September 28, suicide bombers targeting a Malian military camp in Timbuktu detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that killed Malian civilians and injured six Malian soldiers. AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack through public media.
- On October 7 and 8, MUJAO elements reportedly launched mortar shells on two bridges in Gao. One bridge was destroyed in the attack.
- On October 23, four suicide bombers detonated improvised explosive devices targeting a Chadian contingent of MINUSMA forces near a military camp in the Kidal region. The attack resulted in the deaths of two Chadian soldiers, one Malian civilian, and the four suicide bombers. At least six others were wounded in the attack. AMB claimed responsibility for this attack through the press.
- On October 28, four French hostages who were kidnapped in Niger and held in northern Mali since 2010 were released.
- On November 2, violent extremist elements kidnapped and killed two French journalists in Kidal. AQIM claimed responsibility for murdering the journalists on November 6, through public media.
- On November 14, Sultan Ould Badi, a Malian formerly affiliated with MUJAO and currently affiliated with AMB, claimed responsibility for a VBIED that detonated at the Malian Solidarity Bank in the northern city of Kidal. The explosion killed two Senegalese MINUSMA troops and injured seven Malian Armed Forces who were guarding the bank. The perpetrator died in the bombing.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In May, Mali’s legislature enacted a new penal code intended to help counter terrorism and transnational organized crime. The new law calls for the establishment of a counterterrorism center to centralize all terrorism investigations and prosecutions. The new penal code establishes an interagency investigative brigade, analysts, and specialized prosecutors and investigative judges for terrorism offenses.
Malian law enforcement arrested some 200 individuals for crimes in connection with terrorism and rebellion against the state. No case has been successfully prosecuted as a result of these arrests by year’s end. Resource constraints, a lack of training in investigative techniques, and inexperience with trying terrorism cases rendered the judicial system weak. Coming out of the post-coup environment, the lack of enforcement of laws, training, and capacity resulted in the judiciary not prosecuting terrorism cases.
French Serval Forces arrested Alhassane Ould Mohamed aka Cheibani in Gao. A Malian convicted of killing four Saudi Arabian tourists near the Mali-Niger border in 2009, Cheibani is subject to a U.S. warrant for the murder of an American citizen diplomat in Niamey in 2000.
Other examples of significant French Serval Force actions included:
- On February 25, French Serval and Chadian troops killed Abdelhamid Abou Zeid. An Algerian national and leader in AQIM, Abou Zeid was killed during military operations to eradicate terrorists from northern Mali.
- On December 9, French Serval forces engaged with AQIM elements during a large scale operation that resulted in 19 killed violent extremists in the Kidal and Timbuktu regions.
The Malian Armed Forces and Air Force under the Ministry of Defense are generally responsible for securing Mali against terrorist threats. The General Directorate of State Security under the Ministry of Security has the authority to investigate and detain persons for terrorism offenses. Law enforcement and military units do not coordinate on counterterrorism missions.
Although Mali has basic border security enforcement mechanisms, law enforcement units lack capacity, training, and mobility assets to effectively secure Mali’s porous borders. The gendarmerie and national border police under the Ministry of Defense provide paramilitary support to prevent and deter criminal activity at borders. Customs officials under the Ministry of Economy and Finance monitor the flow of goods and enforce customs laws at borders and ports of entry. Mali receives Interpol notices, but the Interpol database is not available at any point of entry in Mali for law enforcement units to compare travel documents to the Interpol lists. Access to the Interpol list is restricted to senior government officials and is made available to investigators upon request. Mali has rudimentary security features in travel documents. Customs officials have travel forms to collect biographical information from travelers at airports and manifests for information on goods transiting borders. In practice, however, customs officials and border police do not log these forms into databases or compare the biographic data on forms against presented travel documents or manifests against goods possessed.
A major impediment to more effective law enforcement and border security in Mali is that security services, particularly the military, had inefficient command and control capacity after the 2012 coup d’état. Malian law enforcement units remained insufficiently resourced and trained in effective law enforcement, counterterrorism investigative techniques, and enhanced border security operations through the end of 2013.
Although Mali’s law enforcement capacity needs improvement, the Government of Mali has recognized the importance of having a security force capable of securing its borders against the threats posed by terrorist elements, organized crime, and narco-trafficking. Mali’s Ministry of Internal Security and Civilian Protection initiated an interagency working group December 30 to reform the security sector in Mali. With international support, Mali is working to build security forces that would operate with restored command and control within the military hierarchy. Mali also benefited from international support to enable Mali to proactively detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism in its territory. The 2013 EU Training Mission in Mali assisted the Ministry of Defense in elaborating a strategy for defense sector reform and reinforcing command and control within the military. The EU Training Mission provided basic training for more than 2,000 Malian soldiers. French Serval forces, in collaboration with the Malian government, apprehended terrorists during military operations that were transferred to Malian prisons for detention.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Mali is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a Financial Action Task Force-style (FATF) regional body. A recent FATF/GIABA West Africa terrorism finance typology featured two case studies from Mali: one examined the abuse of non-profit organizations that fund terrorist groups through complex financial maneuvers; and the second examined kidnapping for ransom as a means to raise funds for terrorist organizations. Kidnapping for ransom is considered a problem in Mali, and AQIM has used ransoms to fund its operations.
Mali's financial intelligence unit is the National Center for the Treatment of Financial Information (CENTIF). CENTIF is authorized by law to freeze assets for a maximum of 48 hours while conducting an investigation. The 48-hour period can be extended by a magistrate.
On December 23, CENTIF held a workshop for Malian non-profit organizations on money laundering and terrorist financing. The main impediments to improving the Malian law enforcement response to terrorist finance were a lack of coordination between CENTIF and the law enforcement community, as well as insufficient judicial capacity to transform CENTIF investigations into effective prosecutions. Mali's law enforcement capacity to freeze and confiscate assets remains unclear given that Mali has never identified or frozen any assets under Malian jurisdiction of UN-designated terrorist individuals or entities.
While Mali has the ability to track transactions through formal networks; it lacks the capacity to trace informal networks and alternative money transfer systems such as hawala. Like most West African countries, Mali relies on cash for virtually all daily transactions. While businesses are legally required to report cash transactions over US $10,000, most do not. Mali’s new penal code on counterterrorism has a provision to create an interagency investigative brigade, with analysts, specialized prosecutors, and investigative judges for cases specific to terrorist financing.
Regional and International Cooperation: During the year, Mali significantly increased its cooperation with regional and international partners both militarily and politically. Mali is active in regional organizations and international bodies including the Economic Community Of West African States, the UN, and the AU. Mali is a member of the TSCTP and also participated in the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
The AU created a follow-up and support group for the political and security situation in Mali and has held six meetings in Mali with international partners on enhancing international cooperation to bring political stability and security in Mali.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of Mali initiated activities to counter violent extremism. In November, Mali held a National Dialogue on the north in November to foster national reconciliation, address the grievances of populations, and identify measures to reduce instances of violence in the north. As one of the first acts of the newly elected president, Mali established a new Ministry for National Reconciliation and Development of Northern Regions. This third-highest ranking cabinet ministry held inter-community dialogues in northern regions to address inter-ethnic tensions and to resolve local conflict. Mali participated in GCTF meetings and is seeking to become a pilot country for grass-roots projects to counter violent extremism.
Mali used counternarratives to denigrate terrorist propaganda and established a mechanism to amplify voices of victims of terrorism. Malian officials and prominent religious leaders routinely condemn violent extremist ideology and terrorist acts. Most Malians practice a tolerant form of Sufi Islam; as a general matter, violent extremist ideologies have not found a receptive audience among Malians. In October, Malian imams began participation in a five-year Moroccan program to train 500 imams in peace messaging and computer literacy.
Overview: The Mauritanian government continued to prioritize counterterrorism in 2013, focusing on improving the capacity of security forces and securing the country’s borders. Mauritania is not a safe haven for terrorists or terrorist groups, although regions in the interior are imperfectly monitored due to their geographic isolation from population centers and inhospitable desert conditions. Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) remained a leading threat to Mauritania in 2013. Mauritania is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). There were no terrorist attacks in Mauritania in 2013.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Mauritania’s counterterrorism legal framework is relatively new. Enacted in 2010, the national counterterrorism laws define terrorism as a criminal act, describe court procedure in terrorism cases, and prescribe punishment for perpetrators. The Mauritanian government continued to send prosecutors and investigative magistrates to terrorism prosecution trainings organized by the United States and other international partners. In 2013, Mauritanian law enforcement participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which helped to build capacity in the areas of border security, investigations, and crisis response.
Mauritanian law enforcement has adequate capacity to detect, deter, and prevent terrorism. Although Mauritanian security forces may have successfully deterred or prevented acts of terrorism during 2013, they did not face any great tests of capacity. Mauritania’s National Gendarmerie, a paramilitary police agency within the Ministry of Defense, and the National Guard under the Ministry of Interior are the primary law enforcement units performing counterterrorism functions. Cooperation and information-sharing between the two organizations occurred sporadically.
Border security is a priority of the Mauritanian government, but it remains far from perfect due to a lack of capacity and a standing policy that delegates responsibility for different sections of the country’s long land borders to different security forces. Mauritania’s border forces employ biometric screening capabilities at some – but not all – ports of entry. Information-sharing efforts within the host government and with other countries are embryonic.
Mauritanian authorities continued to arrest, prosecute, and convict terrorists. In the course of the year, the Mauritanian judiciary handled five individual terrorism-related cases:
- On April 14, the Supreme Court of Mauritania upheld a death sentence imposed on a Mauritanian citizen convicted of murdering a U.S. citizen at the behest of AQIM. It also denied appeals of two prison sentences for the same crime, and returned the cases to the country’s appellate court.
- On May 14, Mauritanian soldiers arrested a Tunisian and an Algerian on suspicion of membership in armed Islamic groups in Bassikounou, a city situated in the country’s southeastern corner along the border with Mali. After transfer to Nouakchott for interrogation, the suspects were placed in pre-trial detention pending the completion of an investigation.
- Also on May 14, Nouakchott’s criminal court sentenced Abdellahi Ould Gheilani, a Mauritanian gendarme, to 10 years in prison for collaborating with AQIM during a suspected reconnaissance of a Mauritanian airbase. On the same day, a judge from the same court sentenced four students from the Islamic University of Aioun to five years in prison apiece for membership in an unspecified group “planning terrorist attacks in Mauritania.”
- On May 19, Mauritanian security forces took into custody Senda Ould Bouamama, the former spokesman of Ansar al-Dine, who voluntarily surrendered and requested trial in Mauritania, his native country. Bouamama has since been placed in pre-trial confinement pending completion of the government’s investigation against him.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Mauritania is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and maintains observer status within the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa. Smuggling and transshipments via the country pose a vulnerability that has been exploited by terrorists. Bulk cash smuggling is another vulnerability given the undeveloped financial markets of the country.
From May 12 to 16 in Nouakchott, Mauritanian investigative magistrates, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and financial intelligence experts joined counterparts from Niger and the United States to discuss new and innovative ways to enforce laws aimed at countering terrorist financing and money laundering.
Although legislation regulating alternative remittances exists, the Mauritanian government does not have the resources to monitor sizable flows of funds through the informal hawala money transfer system.
Regional and International Cooperation: Mauritania remained an active member of the UN and the AU. On March 17, the Mauritanian government hosted the AU’s Ministerial Meeting on the Enhancement of Cooperation in Security and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel-Saharan Region. In his opening remarks, Foreign Minister Hamadi Ould Hamadi called for a common strategic vision for the Sahel that could ensure the territorial integrity of Mali and defend against the threat of organized crime.
On November 3, Mauritania co-hosted a meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Working Group on Capacity Building (AU, the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the International Organization for Migration) in Nouakchott. The conference focused on Mauritania’s civilian capacity gaps, particularly in the civilian criminal justice sector, and on the coordination of donor capacity building efforts in that area.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Mauritanian government continued to manage programs designed to counter violent extremism and to offer alternatives to at-risk individuals. In 2013, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Traditional Education trained over 300 former mahadra (Quranic school) students in vocational subjects at three education centers in Nouakchott, Atar, and Kaedi. The Mauritanian government also continued to collaborate with independent Islamic religious organizations to promote moderation, sponsoring radio and TV programming on the themes of temperance in Islam, and paying monthly salaries of US $170 to 800 imams who fulfilled stringent selection criteria. In September, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Traditional Education organized a training seminar for 137 imams across the country in cooperation with the Institute for Islamic Studies in Nouakchott. The program stressed responsibility for encouraging moderate interpretations of Islamic doctrine.
Overview: The Nigerien government prioritized counterterrorism but limited capacity constrained efforts. Porous borders and the huge expanse of Niger that lacks a persistent government presence provided terrorist groups with an environment conducive to recruitment of terrorist operatives and acquisition of resources by illegal means such as smuggling and kidnapping. Terrorists committed coordinated, asymmetric attacks in Niger in 2013. Niger is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).
Historic tensions between the Nigerien state and Tuareg groups traditionally associated with trans-Sahara smuggling contributed to some support for terrorist operatives. Niger sent a force of over 600 troops to intervene against terrorist groups in northern Mali as part of the African-Led International Support Mission in Mali and increased its contribution to over 800 troops in the follow-on UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Niger also continued its counterterrorism cooperation with other regional partners and organizations.
The presence of the terrorist group Boko Haram (BH) in northern Nigeria, just across Niger’s southern border, remained a threat. The Government of Niger remained committed to fighting al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Mulathamun Battalion (AMB), and BH, but needed and welcomed external support and greater regional cooperation.
The United States significantly increased its security sector capacity building programs with Niger in 2013. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor also worked with the Nigerien Ministry of Justice to: build counterterrorism capacity in the justice sector, provide training to judges and prosecutors on counterterrorism investigations and legislation, focus on the physical protection of government institutions, and on the prison system.
2013 Terrorist Incidents:
- On May 23, a Nigerien military base in Agadez and a French uranium mine in Arlit (both in northern Niger) were simultaneously targeted by terrorists associated with AQIM. The coordinated attacks used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices followed by explosive vests, grenades, and small arms. All of the attackers were killed, and 12 suspects believed to be facilitators were arrested after the attacks. Even though one of the attacks took place on a military facility, Ministry of Interior forces – trained through the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program – were sent to intervene. The attack demonstrated significant gaps in Niger’s ability to detect threats and organize a coordinated response.
- On June 1, prisoners who were associated with BH and AQIM escaped from prison in Niamey, one of whom was indicted for the murder of an American in 2000. Two Nigerien National Guard members and one prisoner were killed in the prison break. Only two of the nine escaped prisoners were recaptured.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Niger has updated its legislation to criminalize acts of terrorism and refine its ability to enact the law through the creation of the new Judicial Counterterrorism Center and the Central Service for the Fight against Terrorism (SCLCT). Law enforcement entities as well as military units have created new crisis response units and enhance their border patrol capacity. Niger’s law enforcement capacity is based on the overall willingness and availability of specialized units such as the Ministry of Interior’s National Police Intervention Group (GIPN) for intervention capacity and the SCLCT for counterterrorism investigation. Nigerien units lack some basic and most specialized equipment needed to complete missions. Niger recognized the importance of a sustained in-country training facility by dedicating 12 acres to a joint training facility located near SCLCT.
During 2013, the SCLCT arrested multiple terrorist suspects on charges that included planning acts of terrorism, association with a terrorist organization, recruitment, and financing terrorism. In response to the terrorist attacks in Agadez and Arlit,Nigerien security services significantly increased security in Niamey and other cities, and specifically areas around Niamey’s Presidential Palace and diplomatic quarter. Arrests included an arms network providing weapons to BH. However, there were no terrorism trials during 2013. Judicial proceedings were often delayed by a lack of resources and investigative capacity.
In October, Niger co-hosted its second Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Sahel Cross-Border Workshop in Niamey. In October, Niger also signed a security agreement with Nigeria to include joint border patrols aimed at fighting BH. With the support of the United States, the Government of Niger agreed to install an additional three Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Identification Systems (PISCES) at three key border control locations. Additionally, more than 220 Nigerien security service officers received eight training courses from the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, as well as other training opportunities. Topics included Critical Response Team Operations, Border Control Management, Precursor-Chemical Introduction, and Post-Blast Investigation.
Resource constraints across the spectrum of basic needs such as electricity, radios, and reliable vehicles made it difficult for the Government of Niger to carry out effective law enforcement and border security.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Niger is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a Financial Action Task Force-style (FATF) regional body. A recent FATF/GIABA West Africa terrorism finance typology featured several case studies from Niger that involved bulk cash smuggling and the export of munitions to support Nigerian terrorist activities. Kidnapping for ransom is also a problem, as proceeds from this activity finance terrorist groups in the region.
In 2013, Niger’s financial intelligence unit, known by its French acronym, CENTIF, continued to become fully operational, added staff, and improved its physical infrastructure and information-technology capabilities. In 2013, CENTIF carried out a number of awareness-raising activities for reporting entities, and received a handful of suspicious transaction reports from financial institutions.
Regional and International Cooperation: Niger deployed over 800 troops to Mali as part of MINUSMA. Niger continued to work with Mali, Algeria, and Mauritania through a combined counterterrorism center called the General Staff Joint Operations Committee (CEMOC) in Tamanrasset, Algeria. Niger increased efforts to improve joint patrols and operations with Algeria, conducted joint patrols with Nigeria and Chad, and held high-level discussions with Libya regarding border security. The EU continued its support for a 50-person team in Niger to build capacity in countering terrorism and other organized crime.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Nigerien government-led initiatives to provide employment to released prisoners, especially to returnees from Libya, have sought to counter radicalization to violence and violent extremism. In November, Niger held a conference on strategic communication to counter terrorism.
Overview: The terrorist group Boko Haram (BH), and a splinter group commonly known as Ansaru, carried out kidnappings, killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria, resulting in over one thousand deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property in 2013. The states where attacks occurred most frequently included Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba, and Yobe. No attacks were conducted in the Federal Capital Territory or the southern states of Nigeria. The area of operations of the violent extremists was somewhat limited following the Government of Nigeria’s declaring a State of Emergency in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe in May. Suspected BH and Ansaru attackers killed Nigerian government and security officials, and BH killed civilians of both the Islamic and Christian faiths. Several citizens from Western nations – although no Americans – were kidnapped and held hostage. Some of the hostages were released and others were killed by their captors. Operations to counter BH and Ansaru were led by the Nigerian military.
In May, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency, with National Assembly approval, in the states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe in northeastern Nigeria for six months. According to government officials, the declaration gave the government sweeping powers to search and arrest without warrants. The military took over all security operations in those three states. Until August, the military headed up a Joint Task Force in these states to combat the violent extremists. In August, these operations were transferred to the command of a new 7th Army Division, headquartered in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. The State of Emergency was extended for another six months on November 15, again with National Assembly approval. Despite the drastic measures, BH has continued to conduct a spate of attacks and the Nigerian military has been roundly accused of large numbers of human rights violations in connection with the military operations.
The Government of Nigeria’s efforts to address grievances among Northern populations, which includes high unemployment and a dearth of basic services, made little progress. Some state governments in the North attempted to increase education and employment opportunities, but with almost no support from the federal government. The United States called on the Nigerian government to employ a more comprehensive strategy to address Boko Haram that combines security efforts with political and development efforts to reduce Boko Haram’s appeal, address the legitimate concerns of the people of northern Nigeria, and protect the rights of all of Nigeria’s citizens.
Nigerian-U.S. counterterrorism cooperation increased in 2013; the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission Regional Security Working Group was hosted by the Nigerian government in Abuja in August. In June, the United States and Nigeria co-hosted the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) workshop on the Criminal Justice Sector and Rule of Law held in Abuja. Nigeria has also been an active participant in other GCTF events in the region. The Government of Nigeria formally requested assistance from the United States to develop an intelligence fusion cell, the Joint Terrorist Branch (JTAB), in order to streamline coordination and information sharing on counterterrorism matters among key agencies, which includes the State Security Service (SSS), the intelligence agencies, the national police, and the military.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: In 2013, BH and Ansaru demonstrated their continuing capability to carry out coordinated attacks carried out attacks primarily in 10 northern states. Notable terrorist incidents committed by elements of BH and factions claiming to be affiliated with BH, included:
- On January 19, a military convoy of buses carrying Nigerian troops to be deployed to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces in Mali were bombed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) placed in the road near Lokoja in Kogi state. Seven soldiers were killed and dozens were wounded in the attack.
- On January 29, the motorcade of the Emir of Kano was attacked by armed men on motorcycles. Four people were killed, including the Emir’s driver and two bodyguards; several more were wounded.
- On February 8, nine Nigerian women working in a polio vaccination campaign in Kano were killed by gunmen riding in three-wheeled motorcycles; several other polio workers were injured.
- On February 16, seven non-Nigerian construction workers employed by Italian firm SETRACO were kidnapped from their company housing compound in Bauchi state and taken hostage. None of the seven hostages had been freed by year’s end.
- On February 19, a French family of seven was kidnapped in northern Cameroon near Maroua and taken by their captors into Nigeria. The family was held hostage, most likely in northeastern Nigeria, until they were all safely released on April 29.
- On March 18, a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device attack on two luxury buses at a motor park in the Sabon Gari neighborhood of Kano killed more than 20 persons and wounded scores.
- On July 6, over 50 students were killed in their dormitories at Mamudo Government Secondary School in Yobe state.
- On August 11, gunmen killed approximately 44 persons praying at a mosque outside Maiduguri and another 12 civilians in a near-simultaneous attack at a nearby location in Borno state.
- On September 29, gunmen killed more than 40 students in the dormitory of an agricultural technical school in Yobe state.
- On December 2, a coordinated and complex attack by violent extremists on the Maiduguri airport and air force base killed over 24 persons, wounded dozens, and destroyed a large amount of military equipment including several military helicopters.
- On December 20, violent extremists assaulted the Nigerian army barracks in Bama, southern Borno state, in a well-coordinated attack that killed approximately 20 military personnel and numerous civilians.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 was revised by a joint Senate-House of Representatives conference committee in December 2012. These amendments were enacted into law on February 21, 2013, and the law subsequently was called the “Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended).” The law appointed the National Security Advisor (NSA) as the coordinator for all counterterrorism intelligence activities, and the Attorney General as the lead official for enforcement.
The Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2013, although several donor countries, including the UK, worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritizing how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorist cases.
Among the problems that deterred or hindered more effective law enforcement and border security by the Nigerian government were: a lack of coordination and cooperation between Nigerian security agencies; a lack of biometrics collection systems and the requisite data bases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of a timely arraignment of suspected terrorist detainees; and lack of sufficient training for prosecutors and judges to understand and carry out the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (as amended).
Several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Nigerian Department of State Security (DSS), the National Police Force (NPF) and the Ministry of Justice. It is important to note that the Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in northeastern Nigeria. While the counterterrorism activities of these agencies and Ministry were ostensibly coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), the level of interagency cooperation and information sharing was limited.
In 2013, the Nigerian government participated in or hosted several multilateral efforts. In June in Abuja, it co-hosted a GCTF Sahel Working Group Criminal Justice Sector and Rule of Law workshop, and in October, the UN Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Regional Workshop for West Africa was held in Abuja. The Nigerian government participated in U.S. counterterrorism capacity programs under the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, including the training of more than 120 NPF members in the detection and handling of IEDs, which increased the NPD’s awareness and capacity to protect and preserve evidence from the crime scene of a suspected terrorist act. Through the ATA program, Nigerian Police, customs officials, and immigration officers also participated in an interagency rural border patrol training to build the law enforcement sector’s ability to effectively utilize all agencies in tackling rural border security challenges.
The Government of Nigeria instituted the collection of biometric data for passport applications of all Nigerian citizens and upgraded the Nigerian machine-readable passports. Screening at the ports of entry of major airports in Nigeria including Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano improved, with passenger name records (PNR) being collected in advance for commercial flights. Border security at rural and extended land borders with Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad were vulnerable to exploitation by BH and Ansaru.
Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups in 2013 included:
- In May, Mustapha Fawaz, Abdallah Thahini, and Talal Ahmad Roda were arrested after a weapons cache was discovered at a Kano city residence; the individuals were accused of plotting attacks against Western and Israeli targets for Lebanese Hizballah. On November 29, Federal High Court Judge Adeniyi Ademola ruled that there was a lack of evidence to convict any of the suspects on terrorist or money laundering charges. In issuing his ruling, Jude Ademola noted that Hizballah is not an international terrorist organization in Nigeria and that therefore, Hizballah membership was not a crime. Talal Ahmad Roda was found guilty of conspiracy to unlawfully import and store prohibited firearms and sentenced to life in prison.
- In May, Salisu Mohammed, Inusa Mukailu, Danzumi Haruna, and Abdulsalami Adamu were arraigned before a Federal High Court as suspects in the Abuja-based UN Headquarters bombing of August 2011. They had been arrested in September 2011 and charged with four counts of terrorism for the bomb attack that killed 23 persons and wounded 75 others.
- On November 15, a Federal High Court in Abuja sentenced Mustapha Umar, a self-confessed BH member, to life imprisonment with hard labor for the April 26, 2012 bombing of SOJ Plaza in Kaduna State occupied by THIS DAY, The Moment and The Sun newspapers. Umar was found guilty on one count of terrorism by Justice Adeniyi Ademola; the judge also ordered that the federal government pay 150 million naira (about US $1 million) to the relatives of those who lost their lives as a result of the bombing.
- In December, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) set up by the Nigerian Defense Headquarters recommended the immediate trial of over 500 BH suspects who were arrested during security operations against terrorists in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states. The JIT also recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention and a review of about 614 inconclusive cases.
- In December, the trial of a suspect accused of the Christmas Day 2011 bombing of a Catholic church at Madalla in Niger state concluded with the conviction of Kabiru Umar, aka Kabiru Sokoto, by a Federal High Court in Abuja. Sokoto, a member of BH, was convicted on two charges related to the bombing under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act and the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended). Sokoto was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Nigerian government actively cooperated with the United States and other international partners to prevent further acts of terrorism in Nigeria against U.S. citizens, citizens of third countries, and Nigerian citizens. In September, Nigeria’s Attorney General, Ministry of Justice and Department of State Services cooperated with the U.S. government to extradite Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, a Nigerian citizen. Babafemi was charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York with providing material support to al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and using firearms in furtherance of that crime.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Nigeria is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. A recent FATF/GIABA West Africa terrorism finance typology featured several case studies from Nigeria. These examined BH’s fundraising through commercial activities such as telecommunications; abuse of the Nigerian financial system; illegal fundraising; extortion; cash couriers, including the use of female cash couriers; and the active assistance of local politicians in raising funds. Kidnapping for ransom was also a source of terrorist financing.
Nigeria made significant progress in its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) efforts in 2013, relative to its action plan. In October, the FATF removed Nigeria from its list of countries subject to monitoring for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations.
The Government of Nigeria froze and confiscated terrorist assets as designated by U.S. Executive Orders and by UNSCRs; however, delays sometimes occurred. While there is political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally caused delays of up to four weeks before authorities blocked these assets. This is a risk because of the possibility that those whose assets may be frozen will have time to transfer them to other jurisdictions.
Regional and International Cooperation: In January, Nigeria committed a battalion of ground forces and logistical support to the ECOWAS effort as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali. The Nigerian troops remained in Mali until July when the infantry battalion returned to Nigeria. Some smaller military logistical support elements remained in Mali along with their Formed Police Unit. Nigeria is also a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership.
Nigeria, primarily through its Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), took a lead role in initiating a multilateral dialogue between regional countries – including through the GCTF and TSCTP activities – on how to better coordinate regional efforts to confront networks of terrorist groups that span international borders.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The United States has worked with national and local leaders in Nigeria to support programs that expand vocational skills training for youth at risk of violent extremist messaging and recruitment.
In 2013, Nigeria was also involved with the establishment of the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience (GCERF). In November, the ONSA sent two representatives to the Lucerne, Switzerland meeting on the GCERF. ONSA representatives also attended the follow-up meeting in December in Geneva.
Overview: Although Rwanda was not directly threatened by al-Shabaab and associated terrorist groups during 2013, fighting by armed groups along Rwanda’s borders created instability and generated the potential for terrorist transit. Improving the counterterrorism capacity of its security services remained a high priority for the Government of Rwanda; however, no new counterterrorism initiatives were launched in 2013.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Terrorism is subject to prosecution in Rwanda under the 2008 law on counterterrorism. The list of terrorism-related offenses was clarified and expanded in the 2012 penal code reform. Rwanda lacks a counterterrorism strategy and its security services are ill-equipped to detect, deter, or respond to acts of terrorism. It is also unclear which security organ (military, intelligence, or police) would have jurisdiction in the event of a large-scale terrorist attack. An Antiterrorism Unit exists within the Rwanda National Police (RNP); however, the officers have no specialized training, equipment, or mandate.
Relations between the RNP and its law enforcement counterparts in most of the East African Community (EAC) are strong, particularly with Uganda, but counterterrorism collaboration in 2013 was limited. After the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack in October, police chiefs from all EAC states convened in Kampala to discuss better ways to fight terrorism in the region. Measures agreed upon included the establishment of a counterterrorism planning desk, to be hosted and coordinated by Rwanda, and regular EAC meetings on ways to fight terrorism. These commitments had not been implemented by year’s end.
The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration has installed computer systems at Kigali International Airport (KGL), allowing for biometric screening upon arrival. The Directorate has also begun placing computers at its land-border crossings, but at year’s end there were no biometric capabilities; the computers were used strictly for electronic data entry only. Immigration screening systems and databases at points of entry were not able to communicate with each other, making border protection ineffective. The Directorate raised this issue directly with the United States, asking for assistance to implement a proper screening system at its borders and airports, and also asked about establishing a terrorist screening watchlist, which it did not have.
The Government of Rwanda prosecuted 13 Rwandan citizens for terrorism under Article 497 of the 2012 Penal Code in relation to grenade attacks and other alleged activities. Most notably, on November 13, the prosecution of Presidential bodyguard Joel Mutabazi for terrorism began. The United States and other international human rights organizations consider the charges politically motivated, aimed at stifling internal dissent.
A lack of trained and qualified personnel was the main impediment to effective law enforcement and border security within Rwanda. Government interference into investigations and legal proceedings is another major restraint.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Rwanda is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The county’s financial system is capable of electronic funds transfers, including mobile banking. Rwanda’s 2012 penal code prohibits money laundering and terrorist financing by individuals and entities. The Government of Rwanda investigates and prosecutes terrorist finance under the 2008 Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, which established the legislative framework to adhere to international money laundering standards. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Rwanda continued to play a leadership role in peacekeeping efforts in Africa. In November, the RNP deployed 140 officers to Mali in support of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which is currently commanded by RDF Major General Jean-Bosco Kazura. Rwanda is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Rwanda continued to carry out programs to welcome returnees to Rwanda, including demobilized combatants from the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). Over 200 FDLR ex-combatants were reintegrated into Rwandan society in 2013, after receiving training and assistance through the Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission. Rwanda welcomed back over 20,000 refugees and other citizens expelled from neighboring countries during the year. For both civilian returnees and ex-combatants, the Government of Rwanda carried out extensive public relations campaigns to reach target audiences and encourage their peaceful return.
Overview: The Government of Senegal is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) nation; addressing the crisis in Mali and countering violent extremism were among its highest foreign policy priorities in 2013. It has contributed more than 900 troops to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and worked to enhance the capabilities of its police, gendarme, intelligence, and military forces to fight terrorist threats. In June 2013, Senegal’s Minister of Interior, General Pathe Seck, announced the development of the “Kaaraange Plan” (“Protection Plan” in Wolof) aimed at anticipating and preventing threats from terrorist groups. The three-year plan will be a joint effort between the police and gendarmerie, with training support from France. In November 2013, President Macky Sall also publicly requested that the Senegalese army pay special attention to the fight against terrorism.
The government worked closely with U.S. military and law enforcement officials to strengthen their capabilities in the fight against terrorism. The risk of violent extremism and terrorist activity in Senegal increased in 2013 following public threats against the country by terrorist organizations in northern Mali. While actual terrorist activity remained lower than in other parts of the Sahel, Senegal’s government remained concerned that terrorist organizations were crossing into the country through its porous borders.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2007, the Government of Senegal amended its criminal code to establish criminal offenses for terrorist acts as defined in the Organization of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism. In addition, 12 separate articles in the criminal code provide the Government of Senegal the authority to prosecute terrorist activities.
The Government of Senegal’s Ministry of Justice made positive improvements in the effectiveness of the judicial system in 2013, including reinstituting the Court of Illicit Enrichment to try cases of corruption. Efforts to strengthen the criminal justice systems in Senegal included multiple training sessions for law enforcement officers and government executives on such matters as crime scene investigation, border security, cyber criminality, and kidnapping for ransom. Several Senegalese officers received training in the United States at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and elsewhere.
Senegal’s gendarmerie, national police, and judicial police have insufficient capacity and resources to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism in their own territory. Senegal worked to improve its law enforcement capacity by participating in multilateral training events organized by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), AU, and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS). The U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program provided training and enabling equipment to build their investigative and border security capacities. Through the Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI), ATA helped establish a Cyber Crime Investigative Unit with the Senegalese National Police, Criminal Investigative Unit. Senegal’s law enforcement officers regularly attended courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana, and were active participants in the U.S. State Department-supported training at its Regional Training Center in Accra, Ghana.
Senegalese officials identified a lack of border resources and regional cooperation as security vulnerabilities. In July, Senegal began requiring biometric visas for all individuals entering the country with non-ECOWAS passports. Senegal is implementing a U.S.-supported Automated Fingerprint Identification System, and collects border control cards. The United States provided training to Senegalese border officials and airline representatives on the identification of counterfeit and falsified travel documents.
While Senegal increased its entry requirements at the country’s main airport in Dakar, the remaining land and water crossings have little or no surveillance. The United States provided border security related trainings, including border security interdiction courses held in the United States and West Africa, and counter proliferation pathways training to help identify the potential illicit pathways used by individuals or groups to move illegal commodities across international borders.
Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists or terrorist groups in 2013 included the arrest of Imam Babacar Dianko. An investigation revealed that Dianko had links to the terrorist group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.
Corruption and lack of infrastructure act as an impediment to more effective Senegalese law enforcement and border security, as does a chronic lack of equipment and the inability of authorities to maintain their current stocks.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Senegal is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a Financial Action Task Force-style (FATF) regional body. A recent FATF/GIABA West Africa terrorism finance typology featured several case studies from Senegal. These case studies included support given to terrorists through abuse of the real estate sector, the abuse of hawaladars to finance violent extremists, and the use of politically exposed persons to transfer terrorist funds.
Senegal is exploited by various illicit actors to access West Africa, Europe, and South America. It is likely that trade-based money laundering and the use of mobile payment methods are exploited by a wide range of illicit actors including terrorist financiers.
At the regional level, Senegal implemented the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework by the member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). All member states are bound to enact and implement the legislation. Among the WAEMU countries, Senegal was the first to have the new AML/CFT legal framework in place. The Regional Council for Public Savings and Financial markets is the body responsible for the control of financial markets in the WAEMU.
Senegal established procedures for the freezing of an account and other assets of known and suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations. Article 42 of Act #90-6 (1990) requires banks and financial institutions to notify the Central Bank if such a person should try to open an account. The Central Bank of West African States and national financial intelligence unit (CENTIF) also circulate the consolidated list of the UNSCR 1267/1989 (al-Qa’ida) Sanctions Committee to commercial financial institutions.
Regional and International Cooperation: Senegal is a member of the UN, AU, ECOWAS, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It is also an active participant in the GCTF’s Sahel Regional Capacity Building Working Group, and participated in its Sahel Cross-Border Workshop in Niamey, Niger in October 2013. Later that month, Senegal and France co-hosted a Sahel Regional Capacity Building Working Group local meeting in Dakar to raise awareness of the terrorist threat in Senegal and to discuss the government’s counterterrorism priorities. Senegal is also a signatory to the Rabat Declaration, and attended the November 2013 Rabat Conference on border security.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Senegal is a country that is traditionally resistant to violent extremism because of its Sufi mystical religious base. Cultural opposition to intolerance and radicalism is widespread. Senegal is organized around several influential brotherhoods who are generally tolerant and do not preach violent extremist ideology. These brotherhoods are also fairly resistant to external influences. The Government of Senegal continued its outreach to the brotherhoods to build partnerships to counter any violent extremist messaging and recruitment.
Overview: In 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia – with the support of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and regional and international partners – continued to battle the threat posed by al-Shabaab. While progress was made in some areas, al-Shabaab continued to exploit divisions within Somalia and commit asymmetric attacks to destabilize the country. Compared with previous years, the terrorist group al-Shabaab executed a wider spectrum of attacks in Mogadishu and throughout Somalia, including more sophisticated, asymmetrical attacks and assassinations; and destruction of property. Several larger and more deadly al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu involved two-part operations, where attackers targeted first responders and onlookers, producing higher casualties. Al-Shabaab also executed attacks on harder targets in Mogadishu, including international compounds and convoys.
While AMISOM and Somali forces continued to control major population strongholds, al-Shabaab continued to control large sections of rural areas in south-central Somalia, including areas in the Juba, Shabelle, Bay, and Bakol regions. Al-Shabaab also continued to operate in northern Somalia along the Golis Mountains and within the federal state of Puntland’s larger urban areas. Areas controlled by al-Shabaab provided a permissive environment for the group to train operatives and plot attacks. The ability of federal, local, and regional authorities to prevent and pre-empt al-Shabaab terrorist attacks remained limited. The overstretched AMISOM forces could not take the offensive against al-Shabaab nor liberate new areas controlled by al-Shabaab in 2013. In November, the UN Security Council approved an increase of 4,000 troops for AMISOM to enable increased offensive operations.
Somalia remained a safe haven for al-Shabaab. The group continued to plan and mount operations within Somalia and in neighboring countries, particularly in Kenya. However, despite its successes, al-Shabaab continued to face internal pressure and experience internal leadership disputes. The primary faction, controlled by Moktar Ali Zubeyr “Godane,” wielded increasing influence, and reportedly ordered the deaths of several prominent members, including U.S. citizen Omar Hammami (also known as Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki) outside of Dinsor, Bay region, on September 12, and Somali national Ibrahim al-Afghani in Barawe, on June 19.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: In 2013, al-Shabaab conducted suicide attacks, remote-controlled roadside bombings, kidnappings, and killings of government officials, foreigners, journalists, humanitarian workers, and civil society leaders throughout Somalia. Al-Shabaab executed attacks in Mogadishu targeting convoys, and popular gathering places for government officials, diaspora, and foreigners, using beheadings, stonings, and other forms of public executions to instill fear and obedience in communities.
Examples of high-profile al-Shabaab incidents in 2013 included:
- On March 18, al-Shabaab detonated a car bomb targeting and injuring Somali intelligence Chief Kahlif Ahmed Ereg near the National Theater in Mogadishu. Ten civilians were killed and 15 were injured.
- On April 14, nine heavily-armed al-Shabaab suicide bombers raided Mogadishu’s Supreme Court complex – the Benadir Regional Courthouse – and then executed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) secondary attack on first responders and onlookers, killing more than 30 persons and injuring another 35. Later in the day, al-Shabaab attacked a Turkish NGO vehicle with a VBIED in Mogadishu, killing two Turkish aid workers and other civilians.
- On June 19, al-Shabaab attacked the UN Common Compound, located 100 meters from Mogadishu International Airport, using a VBIED. Attackers entered the compound with a secondary vehicle and used small weapons to kill 22 people, including three international staff, and injured many more.
- On July 12, al-Shabaab struck an AMISOM convoy near Mogadishu International Airport. Al-Shabaab later publicly admitted that they had tried to target U.S. intelligence officials.
- On July 27, al-Shabaab attacked the Turkish Embassy housing complex in Mogadishu, using a VBIED and small weapons. All three al-Shabaab attackers died, along with one Turkish security guard and seven Somali security guards. The attackers also injured 13 others.
- On September 3 and 4, al-Shabaab attacked the convoy of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with improvised explosive devices (IED) as the President traveled to Merka, Lower Shabelle.
- On September 7, al-Shabaab executed a two-part VBIED and suicide attack against the popular Villa Restaurant in Mogadishu, killing at least 18 civilians.
- On September 12 and November 5, al-Shabaab targeted the convoy of Interim Juba Administration President Ahmed Madobe with a VBIED outside of the Kismayo airport, killing civilians and slightly injuring Madobe in the September 12 attack.
- On November 8, al-Shabaab failed to detonate fully a sophisticated IED embedded in a laptop at the popular Maka al Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu, frequented by high-level government and security officials. The attack killed six and injured 15, when a secondary VBIED detonated in the parking lot.
- On November 19, al-Shabaab attacked the police station in Beledweyne with a VBIED, grenades, and small weapons, killing 21 Somali police and one Djiboutian AMISOM soldier.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Somalia possessed limited investigative and enforcement capacity to prosecute terrorists effectively. Somalia currently employs an outdated penal code, last updated in 1963. Somalian officials lack the capacity to develop comprehensive counterterrorism laws without substantial international assistance. The Parliament did not approve draft counterterrorism legislation in July 2013; work is ongoing to develop new draft legislation.
Due to lack of civil judiciary capacity, the federal government tried terrorism cases in its military court system. Puntland – a semi-autonomous northeast region in Somalia – also lacked regional counterterrorism legislation and tried terrorism cases in its state military court. On March 21, the Puntland military court convicted 36 people accused of links to al-Shabaab. The court sentenced several individuals to life imprisonment, while others received the death penalty. On April 30, Puntland executed 13 al-Shabaab members and supporters whom the court convicted in March.
Somali law enforcement’s basic capacity needs improvement, including basic investigation skills, cordon and search operations, and coordination with the judicial branch. Somalia also lacks capacity, transparency, and institutions to operate an effective judicial and law enforcement system, which, in turn, hinders the federal government’s ability to develop and enforce the rule of law, prosecute criminals, and serve justice to the Somali population. In 2013, with assistance from the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, Somali Federal Police received a modest amount of training on crisis response, border security, and leadership and management capacity building.
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency takes the lead in counterterrorism functions and serves as the rapid-reaction response force to terrorist attacks in Mogadishu. Interagency cooperation and information sharing remained inadequate at all levels on counterterrorism issues, although this year’s appointment of a new National Security Advisor and Council helped bridge some of the coordination gaps. Almost all Somali law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups were reactive in nature.
Somalia has porous borders. Most countries do not recognize Somali identity documents, leaving Somalia with little to no travel document security. Somalia currently does not have a central or shared terrorist screening watchlist, nor does it have biographic and biometric screening capabilities at ports of entry. Minimal cooperation occurred between the federal and regional governments and U.S. law enforcement to investigate suspected terrorists, kidnappings, and other incidents of terrorism committed inside and outside of Somalia.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Somalia does not belong to any Financial Action Task Force regional body. The Ministry of Interior drafted a counterterrorism law in 2013 with the assistance of a British legal adviser. Parliament did not review or pass the law in 2013 – the draft remained insufficient to provide adequate oversight over the financing of terrorism and did not include provisions to freeze or confiscate terrorist assets. Somalia does not have a commercial banking sector, and the Central Bank lacks the capacity to supervise or regulate the hawala (money service businesses) sector. Somalia does not have laws or procedures requiring the collection of data for money transfers or suspicious transaction reports. Somalia did not distribute the UN list of terrorists or terrorist entities to financial services. Somalia lacked the funding and capacity to investigate and prosecute incidents of terrorist financing. The supervisory and examining section of the Somali Central Bank attempted to develop procedures to oversee the policies governing the establishment of commercial banks in the country. The section suffered from limited staffing and lacked additional funding to pay the salaries of its staff.
In 2013, government entities lacked the capacity to track, seize, or freeze illegal assets. The Somali hawalas, most of which operate abroad, employed self-imposed minimum international standards to continue operating in countries with comprehensive anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws. In May, Barclay’s Bank in the UK informed all small money service businesses (MSBs), including all Somali hawalas, that the bank would close their accounts. Dahabshil, Somalia’s largest MSB, sued Barclay’s Bank, claiming the decision was discriminatory. The judge awarded Dahabshil a stay until the court hears the case. Barclay’s Bank claimed that U.S. AML/CFT laws prompted the bank to make the decision due to the risk factors associated with bank accounts from Somalia.
Regional and International Cooperation: Somalia is a member of the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Somalia is also a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Following the al-Shabaab terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, from September 21 to 24, Somalia expressed greater interest in increasing intelligence sharing and conducting joint operations with its Horn of Africa neighbors against al-Shabaab.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: With U.S. and international support, in 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia increased its capacity to deliver public messaging that counters al-Shabaab’s violent extremist messaging. Radio Mogadishu and state-owned TV stations broadcasted programs aimed to counter al-Shaabab’s propaganda and violent extremist messaging. The Somali government continued to air the Islamic Lecture Series (ILS), which began in Mogadishu in 2010, and the reach of its programming has since expanded to include the former al-Shabaab strongholds in Baidoa, Beledweyne, Dhusamared, and Abudwaq. The ILS employs an hour-long, call-in radio program designed to undercut al-Shabaab’s efforts to acquire religious legitimacy for its violent extremist ideology. The Federal Government of Somalia also began to implement its National Program for Disengaged Combatants and At-Risk Youth, an interagency program to register, de-radicalize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate low-risk fighters that are disengaging from al-Shabaab and associated militias.
Overview: In 2013, South Africa and the United States had minimal formal counterterrorism cooperation. The South African State Security Agency (SSA) appeared unenthusiastic about engaging with U.S. counterterrorism interlocutors. SSA’s Foreign Branch (SSA/FB) is the sole contact for counterterrorism-related coordination and it determines which other entities within SSA or other parts of the government will be involved. U.S. officials working on counterterrorism issues largely had difficulties engaging counterparts in the South African Police Service Crime Intelligence (SAPS/CI) Division, which has the arrest authority in South Africa that the SSA lacks. There is some cooperation on counterterrorism investigations initiated by the United States, however.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2004, the South African government enacted the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act (POCDATARA), which it used for the first time in 2012. The aim of the Act is “to provide for measures to prevent and combat terrorist and related activities; define the offense of terrorism and other offenses associated or connected with terrorist activities; codify Convention offenses; give effect to international instruments dealing with terrorist and related activities; provide a mechanism to comply with UNSCRs; set out measures to prevent and combat the financing of terrorist and related activities; and define investigative measures in respect of terrorist and related activities.”
South African law enforcement made several arrests and conducted successful prosecutions in
furtherance of counterterrorism offenses involving South Africa and other African countries. In March, the South Gauteng High Court sentenced Henry Okah, the leader for the Movement for Defence of the Niger-Delta (MEND), to 24 years in prison on 13 terrorism-related charges. Okah, a South African citizen since 2003, was charged for his role in the twin bombings that rocked the October 2010 Independence Day Anniversary celebrations in Abuja, Nigeria where scores of people were killed and wounded. This case was one of the first to be prosecuted under POCDATARA.
SAPS/CI Division, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, and SSA are currently tasked with detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism within South Africa. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is involved from the beginning of most counterterrorism investigations and prosecutes such cases. All entities possess the knowledge, resources, intelligence capabilities, and sophisticated techniques to effectively implement current counterterrorism legislation. However, problems exist with interagency investigative cooperation and intelligence sharing.
The South African judicial system is effective in assisting U.S. counterterrorism investigations. Appropriate South African entities have exhibited occasional willingness to fully cooperate with prosecutorial and extradition requests.
Overall cooperation with South African law enforcement has gradually improved during the past five years in cases of U.S. government-initiated counterterrorism investigations. However, due to allegations of corruption, attrition, the lack of receipt of timely intelligence requests, and bureaucracy within multiple South African law enforcement entities, challenges remain.
Although the South African government has adequate legislation in place to address counterterrorism offenses, substantial obstacles inhibit the country’s ability to fight terrorism. South African borders remain porous. To address this problem, South Africa took steps in 2013 to address document fraud and other border security vulnerabilities. South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs introduced a new passport with additional security features aimed at eliminating the forging of passports by organized criminal networks. Most recently, there was evidence showing that this vulnerability was exploited by terrorist groups to assume false identities and enable them to move freely throughout Africa.
Training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) continued for midlevel police managers in a wide range of law enforcement and police programs until September 30. South Africa accepted U.S. training in Maritime Interdiction, Post-Blast Investigations, and Management of Special events. Unfortunately, there was poor participation or participation by officers unaffiliated with counterterrorism activities in these courses.
South African law enforcement currently uses travel document security and has biographic biometric and biometric screening capabilities (secondary interview) at some of its points of entry. The South African government continued to share information and intelligence in relation to flight manifests and entry and exit frequency of identified individuals.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: South Africa is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a FATF-style regional body. Its financial intelligence unit is the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Those required to report to the FIC included banks, financial institutions, car dealers, attorneys, gold dealers, gambling establishments, real estate agents, foreign exchange dealers, securities traders, money lenders (to include those who lend against shares, e.g., brokers), entities selling travelers checks, and Johannesburg stock exchange-registered individuals and companies. South Africa's FIC is a member of the Egmont group.
The FIC’s annual report in October cited several efforts by terrorists to exploit the country’s financial sector. Most major urban centers have a multitude of locally owned hawalas – informal unregulated money transfer businesses – to move money to individuals in other countries.
Regional and International Cooperation: South Africa is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and participates in its working group meetings. The NPA actively participates in regional capacity building on counterterrorism investigation and prosecution, both bilaterally and through the auspices of the 30-member African Prosecutor’s Association, in which South Africa is a driving force. Lawyers from the NPA Priority Crimes Litigation Unit and investigators from the SAPS Special Investigating Unit and Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation teach courses under the auspices of the Institute for Security Studies to lawyers, judges, and police from around the continent.
Overview: At the end of 2013, fighting broke out between rival political factions in South Sudan, resulting in the death of thousands and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Prior to the crisis, South Sudan expressed a commitment to countering terrorism, but suffered from multiple institutional weaknesses that impeded any counterterrorism efforts. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remained a threat for communities in Western Equatoria and Western Bahr-el-Ghazal states, and new LRA attacks were reported in late 2013. South Sudan contributed to the AU Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) against the LRA, but many of its forces were redeployed at the end of 2013 in response to the political crisis.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: While dealing with multiple crises, South Sudan continued to have limited capacity to provide effective law enforcement and border security with respect to counterterrorism. Additionally, the border with Sudan remained disputed in several locations.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: South Sudan is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In August, South Sudan passed anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism legislation. The country’s capabilities to implement or enforce the law remained limited. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: South Sudan is a member of the UN, the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Interpol, and the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, a sub-regional organization of Interpol. South Sudan participated in the AU-RTF, a joint military task force to counter the LRA threat that includes forces from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. South Sudan is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Overview: Since the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in July 1998, Tanzania has not experienced any other major terrorist attacks. However, the al-Shabaab attack at the Westgate Mall in Kenya served as a reminder that the threat in the region remains. Tanzania’s interagency National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) reported concerns over escalating radicalism, corruption, and inadequate border security.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: On May 5, an explosion outside of a Catholic church near Arusha killed three and injured over 40 gathered for the church’s consecration. Shortly after the explosion, President Kikwete released a statement calling the incident “a terrorist act.”
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Regulations for the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act were drafted in 2011 and published in August 2012 as the Prevention of Terrorism Regulations 2012. The regulations established the police and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as the institutions that are to collect and respond to reports of terrorist activity. The regulations also formalized the process for freezing assets, deeming a person a suspected terrorist, and sharing information between government agencies.
Tanzania’s law enforcement capacity needs improvement. While the NCTC is an interagency unit made up of officers from Intelligence, Police, Defense, Immigration, and Prison organizations who work collectively on counterterrorism issues in Tanzania, the center lacked specialized equipment, especially for securing the borders, and had large unfulfilled needs such as training in advanced intelligence analysis and crime scene investigation. Moreover, Tanzanian law enforcement was affected by corruption. The 2013 Transparency International report ranked Tanzania’s police, judiciary, and tax agency the most corrupt in the East African Community.
According to Tanzania’s NCTC, violent extremism is on the rise throughout the country.
Examples of law enforcement actions included:
- On October 7, in Mtwara Region’s Makolionga Forest, Tanzanian Police arrested 11 men ranging in age from teenagers through their late 30s. The police reported the men as followers of a violent extremist imam who had been forced out of a mosque in Zanzibar and another in Mtwara. He and his followers reportedly conducted unarmed training and possessed al-Shabaab propaganda. Local villagers informed the police about the suspicious activities of the group.
- On October 23, in Lulago village, Kilindi-Handeni, Tanga Region, a People’s Militia member was killed by a group of men suspected of being violent extremists. Police conducted an investigation and arrested four men.
- Also on October 23, in the neighboring village of Lwande, the Officer in Charge of the police station was shot by another suspect who was also arrested. During the subsequent investigations, police learned from local villagers about a violent extremist group that ran a madrassa. Police went to the madrassa and encountered numerous women and children. The men had run away. The police recovered some violent extremist materials and learned that the leader was conducting martial arts training for the students. Police arrested the leader. Parents from the local village entrusted their children to the madrassa so they could obtain an education and were unaware of the violent extremist teachings.
Tanzania shares borders with eight countries and lacks sufficient resources to adequately patrol those borders. The larger border posts and airports have passport security, including access to watchlists. However, that is not the case in the more rural and coastal regions as their borders are considered porous due to shortages in manpower for patrolling and because electrical power is unreliable or absent – leaving posts without access to communications networks. According to the NCTC, several Tanzanian youth were arrested on illegal immigration charges in Kenya. Once returned to Tanzania, NCTC officers interviewed the young men and reported that they were crossing Kenya in route to Somalia with plans of joining al-Shabaab training camps.
In 2013, the FIU participated in U.S. training on computer forensics and anti-corruption sponsored by the Department of Justice and DHS. Through the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, Tanzania’s law enforcement community received training and enabling equipment to build their capacities in the areas of border security – particularly maritime security – investigations, and crisis response.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tanzania is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In October, the FATF noted that Tanzania took steps towards improving its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime but called attention to its remaining deficiency under its agreed action plan: the establishment and implementation of adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets. Tanzania’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is responsible for combating money laundering and terrorist finance. The FIU applied for membership to the Egmont Group and reported that the application is at an advanced stage.
The FATF again included Tanzania in its October 18 Public Statement for its failure to adequately implement its action plan to address noted AML/CFT deficiencies. Mobile banking services, such as Mpesa and AirtelMoney, continued to expand rapidly in Tanzania, opening up formerly underserved rural areas to formal banking, but also creating new vulnerabilities in the financial sector. The central bank of Tanzania estimated that the equivalent of US $650 million is transferred each month through such mobile transfers. The FIU received 68 suspicious transaction reports in 2013, a significant increase from 2012.
Non-profit organizations must declare their assets when initially registering with the government, but their assets are not subsequently reviewed on a regular basis. In November, a prominent businessman was arrested for providing financial support to al-Shabaab in Kenya.
Regional and International Cooperation: Tanzania is a member of the AU, the South African Development Community, and the East African Community, all of which have initiatives to address counterterrorism. Through the East African Police Chiefs' Organization and South African Police Chiefs' Organization, the NCTC maintains more frequent, informal contact with other police forces in the region. The Tanzania Police Force also works closely with Interpol. Tanzania is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and participates in Global Counterterrorism Forum events focused on the Horn of Africa.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Tanzanian NCTC reported that countering radicalization to violence is a top priority. The NCTC is interested in starting community awareness programs to educate citizens on how to identify and report terrorist activities, and increasing training for the local police on community policing strategies and the appropriate use of force. Police leadership on the mainland and in Zanzibar has shown a keen interest in developing community policing programs. The United States is providing support for Tanzanian efforts to counter violent extremism in youth populations in Zanzibar. The aim is to engage youth and community police with local interfaith and human rights organizations.
Overview: The Government of Uganda effectively collaborated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and showed increased political will to apprehend suspected terrorists and disrupt terrorist activity in Uganda. Unfortunately, resource limitations, porous borders, and corruption hampered increased counterterrorism measures and continued to leave Uganda vulnerable to attacks by terrorist groups, particularly al-Shabaab, which killed 76 people, including one American, in Kampala in July 2010.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Uganda passed counterterrorism legislation in 2002, but this legislation does not include key provisions on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. Although Uganda significantly improved its ability to investigate terrorist acts, additional training and resources are still needed. The Ugandan Police Force (UPF), for instance, needs a modern criminal records management system to replace the outdated system of fingerprint cards police use to identify criminal and terrorist suspects. In late 2013, the Government of Uganda signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the United States to implement a U.S. government-funded Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in Uganda. Once implemented, the AFIS project will greatly improve the counterterrorism investigation capabilities of the Ugandan police. In addition, with U.S. assistance, Uganda continued to expand its border control system to additional points of entry and upgrade this system to capture biometric information.
There is strong political will to arrest and prosecute terrorists in Uganda. However, a legal challenge in the Constitutional Court over jurisdiction, extradition, and treatment of the 12 individuals arrested for orchestrating the July 2010 bombings was indefinitely delayed.
The UPF Counterterrorism Directorate (CT) is the lead Ugandan law enforcement entity charged with investigating, disrupting, and responding to terrorist incidents. While Ugandan law enforcement officers assigned to this directorate are highly motivated, the UPF overall has limited capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents due to lack of manpower, resource limitations, and poor infrastructure. Moreover, the bulk of the CT police and other law enforcement elements are centrally located in the capital, which limits the effectiveness of law enforcement in the border regions and all areas outside Kampala. Following the Westgate terrorist attack in Nairobi, the UPF conducted a critical examination of its operations to ensure interagency cooperation among various Ugandan government elements should an attack occur in Uganda. The UPF also lacks basic technology, such as secure computer networks, to conduct comprehensive terrorism investigations in the most effective manner, a lesson discovered after the 2010 terrorist attacks in Kampala.
The U.S. government has provided significant counterterrorism assistance to the UPF. Specifically, through the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which expanded in 2013, Uganda’s police received a greater volume than in previous years of training and enabling equipment to build capacity in the areas of investigations, border security, and crisis response.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Uganda is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. With the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in October 2013, Uganda made significant strides in creating the legal framework to deter, detect, and investigate terrorist financing. The AMLA, which had been pending since 2009, was signed into law on October 2, and brings into force a law that represents an important step in combating money laundering and terrorist financing in Uganda. The AMLA criminalizes money laundering and the aiding and abetting of money laundering, and prescribes penalties, including seizure, freezing, and forfeiture of assets linked to money laundering and terrorist financing. It also creates a regulatory framework aimed at preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism through a range of institutional measures.
Recognizing the link between money laundering and terrorist financing, the AMLA requires accountable persons – which may include auditors, lawyers, licensed accountants, NGOs, money transfer agents, foreign exchange bureaus, financial institutions, revenue or customs authority – to take measures aimed at controlling terrorist financing, including the detection and reporting of any suspicious transactions possibly linked to terrorist financing. Every accountable person is also required to have a “control officer” charged with overseeing their obligations to report suspicious activities. The Anti-Terrorist Act’s list of terrorist organizations includes only four organizations: al-Qa’ida, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the violent Islamist extremist Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebel group based in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and one defunct Ugandan rebel group.
The AMLA attempts to strengthen the country’s ability to monitor and regulate remittance services and wire transfer data by establishing a Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), which the government aims to implement by the end of 2014. Financial institutions will need to report any suspicious activity to the FIA. Currently, the Bank of Uganda asks local banks to report “suspicious” transactions, but there is no clear implementation mechanism for enforcement or investigation of potentially suspicious activity. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the UPF continues to be responsible for investigating financial crimes. However, the CID remains understaffed and poorly trained, with only limited ability to investigate and prosecute money laundering violations. The CID and other directorates within the UPF have also been plagued by allegations of corruption.
Regional and International Cooperation: Uganda is a strong force for regional stability, security cooperation, and counterterrorism efforts. Uganda is an active member of the AU, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Community of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Uganda contributed troops to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), to counter al-Shabaab; continued to pursue the LRA with neighboring countries as part of the AU Regional Task Force; and remained concerned about possible attacks by the ADF. Uganda is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and participates in Global Counterterrorism Forum events focused on the Horn of Africa.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Uganda’s population is generally not receptive to violent extremist ideologies. After the July 2010 terrorist attacks, Ugandan police increased outreach to local Muslim youth considered to be at risk for recruitment and radicalization to violence, and the Inspector General of Police has expressed a desire to expand community policing programs in Uganda to counter violent extremism in addition to combat crime. The U.S. government has worked in collaboration with Ugandan law enforcement to establish an effective community policing program. In addition to funding construction of community policing pavilions in Kampala, the U.S. government has worked with interlocutors at the Police Training Academy in Masindi, Uganda to develop a curriculum that will permit more effective community policing and enable the police to continue to counter radicalization to violence.
Since 2000, Uganda has offered amnesty to over 26,000 former rebel combatants, including members of the LRA and the ADF. Although the key components of Uganda’s Amnesty Act expired in May 2012, the Ministry of the Interior reinstated the Amnesty Act in May 2013 for two additional years, following significant outcry among civil society members and northern Ugandan politicians who believed amnesty was still a useful tool to encourage defections from the LRA and positive reintegration of former violent extremists into society.