Chapter 2. Country Reports: Africa Overview
Africa experienced significant levels of terrorist activity in 2015. In East Africa, the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab proved its resilience and re-emerged from a series of significant setbacks it suffered in the first half of 2015, which included the death of key operatives and the loss of strongholds and safe haven in parts of south-central Somalia. Despite these losses, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) struggled to counter al-Shabaab, as the terrorist group adopted increasingly aggressive tactics. Later in the year, factions formed and defections increased as the appeal of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) created divisions within al-Shabaab’s core leadership. The organization maintained its allegiance to al-Qa’ida, however, in spite of public appeals from other terrorist groups in Africa to join the ranks of those aligned with ISIL.
Al-Shabaab established new safe havens and continued launching attacks and suicide bombings in Somalia, many of which targeted Mogadishu International Airport, Somali government facilities, and select hotels popular with government officials and business people. While still focused on striking targets outside of Somalia, particularly within countries contributing troops to AMISOM, al-Shabaab attempted to delegitimize the Federal Government of Somalia and weaken AMISOM’s resolve by launching several successful attacks against AMISOM forward-operating bases in southern Somalia and killing several hundred AMISOM and Somalia National Army soldiers. Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Uganda did not suffer an al-Shabaab attack in 2015, but Kenya suffered one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in its history in April when al-Shabaab operatives assaulted the Garissa University College using light arms and suicide vests and killed more than 145 Kenyans, most of whom were students.
The United States continued to support counterterrorism capacity building throughout the Horn of Africa, including bolstering AMISOM’s operational efficacy, contributing to the development and professionalization of Somalia’s security sector, and improving regional critical incident response capabilities of law enforcement. In the wake of the 2015 Garissa University College attack, Kenya and other East African countries refocused their efforts to secure their borders as well as detect, deter, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute terrorist incidents. In September, Kenyan Defense Forces launched Operation Linda Boni in the northern coastal area of Kenya in an effort to clear al-Shabaab operatives from the Boni Forest, a known base of operations and cross-border transit hub for al-Shabaab.
In the Lake Chad Basin, the Nigerian, Chadian, Cameroonian, and Nigerien governments took a number of steps in 2015 to increase counter-Boko Haram efforts. Bilateral and multilateral efforts by these regional military forces successfully challenged Boko Haram’s hold on territory, forcing it to abandon major military-style campaigns and revert back to the asymmetric tactics seen in previous years. Despite these setbacks, Boko Haram withstood and adapted to the military offensives. The group carried out kidnappings, killings, bombings (including with child suicide bombers), and attacks on civilian and military targets throughout the Lake Chad Basin, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property. In Nigeria, the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe experienced significant terrorist attacks. Boko Haram’s violence also spilled over into neighboring northern Cameroon, Chad, and southeast Niger. In March, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in an audiotaped message.
To coordinate counter-Boko Haram efforts in the Lake Chad Basin, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria formed a Multi-National Joint Task Force.
France’s Operation Barkhane, a counterterrorism operation focused on countering terrorists operating in the Sahel, continued and was supported by important contributions of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali to bolster and restore that country’s stability.
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 and law enforcement to conduct counterterrorism operations;
2. Integrating the ability of North and West African militaries and law enforcement, and other supporting partners, to operate regionally and collaboratively on counterterrorism efforts;
3. Enhancing 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, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
TSCTP has built capacity and cooperation despite setbacks caused by a restive political climate, violent extremism, ethnic rebellions, and extra-constitutional actions that interrupted work and progress with select partner countries.
Regional cooperation, a strategic objective of U.S. assistance programming globally, has increased substantially in West and Central Africa among most of the partners of TSCTP. Nigeria and its neighbors agreed to form a Multinational Joint Task Force to combat Boko Haram, and remained actively engaged in countering the group throughout the region. The TSCTP partners were joined in this effort by the AU and by the country of Benin, which is not a member of TSCTP.
PARTNERSHIP FOR REGIONAL EAST AFRICA COUNTERTERRORISM
First established in 2009, the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) is a U.S.-funded and -implemented multi-year, multi-faceted program designed to build counterterrorism capacity and cooperation of military, law enforcement, and civilian actors across East Africa to counter terrorism. Areas of support include:
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.
Active PREACT partners include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Burundi, Comoros, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, and Sudan are also members of PREACT.
In 2015, the U.S. government, through PREACT, continued to build the capacity and resilience of East African governments to contain the spread of, and ultimately counter the threat posed by, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabaab, and other terrorist organizations. PREACT complements the U.S. government’s dedicated efforts, including support for AMISOM, to promote stability and governance in Somalia and the greater East Africa region. PREACT additionally serves as a broader, U.S. government interagency mechanism to coordinate counterterrorism and countering violent extremism programming. Joint training exercises for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan first responders and law enforcement professionals support efforts to enhance regional coordination and cooperation, protect shared borders, and respond to terrorist incidents.
Overview: After a year of political transition following the 2014 popular uprising that pushed Burkina Faso’s longtime president Blaise Compaore from power, Burkina Faso held presidential and legislative elections on November 29, 2015. The new president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, sworn in on December 29, stated that security and counterterrorism were top priorities for his government.
Burkina Faso faced four terrorist attacks in 2015, including kidnapping for ransom. This was a marked departure from previous years when Burkina Faso experienced no terrorist incidents. These cases remained under investigation at the end of the year.
Burkina Faso’s willingness to engage in regional counterterrorism and stability operations was facilitated by assistance provided to its security forces through the Department of State’s Africa Peacekeeping Program (AFRICAP) II, Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) contracts, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 2282 funding initiatives. Bilateral and regional counterterrorism cooperation increased. The United States supported USAFRICOM’s FY 2015 proposals to augment and build upon Burkina Faso’s Gendarmerie Border Security and Counterterrorism Company capabilities. U.S. support worked to directly develop Burkina Faso’s counterterrorism capabilities to contain, disrupt, degrade, and defeat terrorist organizations.
The long-term sustainability and effectiveness of all counterterrorism units was severely hampered by logistical and professional shortfalls in the Burkinabe military. In 2015, U.S. funding supported the establishment of a 150-person counterterrorism logistics company. The company helped to address maintenance shortfalls within the country’s counterterrorism forces. Elements of the Presidential Security Regiment, which launched an attempted coup d’etat in September and was immediately dissolved after, reportedly abused civilians. The most significant of these reported abuses included killing civilians and violently harassing journalists and members of civil society.
Burkina Faso relies on the Terrorist Interdiction Program’s Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to conduct traveler screening and watchlisting. The country is also engaged with the International Organization of Migration to provide limited traveler screening at select border control points.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: According to local police sources, Burkina Faso endured four significant incidents believed to be terrorist-related or perpetrated:
- A Romanian national was kidnapped near the Tambao manganese mining site in April, reportedly by the terrorist group al Murabitoun.
- Two cross-border attacks on gendarmerie outposts, one in Oursi in August, that resulted in one death, and one in Samorogouan in October, which resulted in three deaths.
- A complex attack in November on a gold convoy, near Djibo, involving IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms. The attack resulted in one death.
Investigations of these incidents were ongoing at year’s end.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Burkina Faso’s counterterrorism strategy involves deploying the counterterrorist task force to the north of the country, establishing new police and military counterterrorism units, strengthening intelligence collection, building new border control stations, and increasing the size of the gendarmerie and police force. In accordance with the strategy, the government deployed a joint Army-Gendarmerie counterterrorism task force known as the Groupement des Forces Anti-Terroristes (GFAT) to the north in January 2013. Due to multiple peacekeeping operation deployments, this force, originally projected to possess 1,000 troops, had 500 troops in 2015. Burkinabe security and law enforcement officials continued to cite border security as a major area of concern. Due to political unrest, some Department of State Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) programming was delayed in 2015.
Burkina Faso law enforcement officials actively sought training from the United States and other countries. Recent U.S. assistance included workshops on cross-border security, criminal investigation techniques, and prosecutorial skills training, often under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ). For example, representatives from Burkina Faso participated in two courses developed by the Global Center for Cooperative Security and conducted at the IIJ focusing on non-coercive interviewing and interrogation techniques and the use and protection of intelligence-derived information in rule of law-based investigations and prosecutions.
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-style body that is part of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Its financial intelligence unit, Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières, (CENTIF), is composed of magistrates, police, gendarmerie, and financial experts under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and is a member of the Egmont Group. The Government of Burkina Faso has a three-year (2014-2016) strategy for fighting financial crime, but due to recent political uncertainty, much of this strategy has not been implemented. Furthermore, although Burkinabe law enforcement had the will to improve its ability to counter terrorism financing, it lacked the necessary resources and experience. In 2015, Burkina Faso worked on developing a special court for terrorism financing. CENTIF reported that between January 1 and November 26, a total of 68 Suspicious Transaction Reports were filed, and 17 individuals were being prosecuted for money laundering or other financial crimes, including three new cases in 2015. It can take years for criminal cases in Burkina Faso to reach a conclusion, however, and there were no convictions in 2015. While Burkina Faso has many of the laws and regulations required for an anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime, other laws and customs make implementing these difficult. For example, Burkina Faso is a cash society, making money difficult to track. Also, an agreement between West African countries for the free movement of people and goods allows individuals uninhibited entry to and exit from Burkina Faso with any amount of money.
There were no reports of inappropriate use of regulations to target political appointments. However, in late September 2015, the government froze the assets of 14 individuals and four political parties suspected of involvement in the failed coup, which took place earlier that same month.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Burkina Faso did not have any formal programs to counter violent extremism. However, several international organizations funded vocational training and economic development programs designed to provide positive alternatives for populations vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment into terrorist organizations.
International and Regional Cooperation: Burkina Faso was active in regional organizations and international bodies, as demonstrated by increased collaboration with the UN on counterterrorism matters and its active participation in international fora, such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Sahel Working Group. During an event of this working group, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Territorial Administration and Security presented the country’s strategic counterterrorism plan. Burkina Faso was a member of the TSCTP, was active in ECOWAS, and is a member of the G-5 Sahel group that was created in February 2014.
Overview: Burundi continued to deploy six battalions to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Of serious concern, Burundian security forces, in particular the Burundian National Police, were increasingly credibly implicated in widespread human rights abuses in 2015 as a result of the Government of Burundi’s determination to crack down on political opponents.
Burundi demonstrated its continued commitment to addressing international terrorism in 2015 primarily through its six battalion contribution to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). However, the Burundian National Police (BNP) was hampered by a lack of training, resources, and infrastructure. In addition, the BNP focused its investigative efforts on political opposition in Burundi.
Burundi’s porous land and water borders posed significant border security challenges.
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. The Judicial Police was responsible for terrorism investigations. A counterterrorism unit, formed in 2010, consists of elements of the BNP, the military, and the Burundi National Intelligence Service.
Burundi’s participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program and the International Law Enforcement Academy was suspended in mid-2015 due to the lack of accountability for human rights abuses perpetrated in Cibitoke Province in January.
Burundi used laws related to threats to internal and external state security to suppress dissent during the electoral cycle. Several journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition politicians – including Bob Rugurika of African Public Radio and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Prisoners – denounced government activities and consequently faced jail time and repeated court hearings, and were forced to flee the country due to credible threats to themselves and their families, or were severely injured or killed.
Burundi’s judicial system was characterized by corruption, incompetence, and an overwhelming backlog of cases.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Burundi is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body; however, it is an observer of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group. While the government has created counterterrorist financing laws, it has yet to commit funding, provide training, or implement policies. Burundi has laws that criminalize terrorist financing, but it does not implement these laws consistently. No terrorist assets were frozen in 2015.
Burundi’s anti-money laundering/counterterrorism finance regime is incomplete. It does not include regulatory requirements or supervision of money/value transfer services, precious metal and jewelry dealers, real estate agents, exchange houses, non-profit organizations, the informal financial sector, and money service businesses, but Know Your Customer practices are implemented regularly in the formal financial sector. In addition, very few people in the country have access to the formal banking sector. Each local commercial bank operation is recorded within the bank’s system and the banks exchange information with their foreign correspondent banks through their compliance officers. Banks are not asked to share this information with the Government of Burundi’s financial intelligence unit, however.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Burundian government does not have any formal programs to counter violent extremism. Due to concerns about abuses allegedly perpetrated by Burundian security forces, several of Burundi’s partners, including international organizations, reduced funding for vocational training and economic development programs designed to provide positive alternatives for populations vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment into terrorist organizations.
International and Regional Cooperation: Burundi is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, although the United States did not provide assistance in 2015 because of its failure to hold police and military personnel accountable for human rights abuses. Burundi contributed six battalions to AMISOM.
Overview: Cameroon became a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) in 2014. Countering terrorist threats remained a top security priority for the Government of Cameroon in 2015, and it continued to work with the United States to improve the capacity of its security forces. Boko Haram took advantage of weaknesses in Cameroon’s border security to conduct a number of terrorist attacks in the country’s Far North Region in 2015, including targeted killings and kidnappings of Cameroonians, and raids on villages, fields, and livestock. On July 12, Boko Haram launched the first-ever suicide bombing campaign on Cameroonian soil in the Far North Region that continued throughout the remainder of the year. Cameroon responded to the attacks with a significantly increased security presence in the Far North Region.
Boko Haram’s bombing campaign had a fundamental impact on the Cameroonian people, government, and security forces, ultimately leading to a drive to professionalize security force and government operations. Cameroon shifted security and financial resources from the restive eastern border with the Central African Republic to the North and Far North Regions. This bolstered its counter-Boko Haram efforts, but left a vacuum in the east that was exploited by criminal groups, wildlife traffickers, and smugglers. Cameroon also created a system of Vigilance Committees (VC), officially sanctioned and registered neighborhood watch groups that have successfully thwarted or limited the damage caused by suicide attacks. In addition to combat deaths among security forces, several VC members were killed by Boko Haram.
In 2015, the United States continued to provide an expanding number of training programs on terrorism and security to help Cameroon address the Boko Haram threat in the Far North Region.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: Boko Haram was responsible for suicide bombings, raids and targeted killings of Cameroonians in the Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Tsanaga, and the Logone and Chari Divisions of the Far North Region – including the villages of Amchide, Blabline, Bia, Fotokol, Kolofata, Waza, and other localities at the border with Nigeria. Although their precise citizenship has been difficult to ascertain, evidence suggested that most Boko Haram assailants and suicide bombers to date have been Nigerian and Nigeria-based. However, the Government of Cameroon acknowledged there were Cameroonian members of the group in both Cameroon and Nigeria.
From July 12 until December 31, there were 37 known suicide bombing attacks which resulted in an official count of 131 civilian casualties. The actual number of casualties is likely to be higher as many victims died of their wounds days and weeks after the attacks, but were not counted in the official tally. Throughout the year, Boko Haram conducted almost daily raids that resulted in as many as 1300 casualties, although conclusive figures were difficult to obtain. Specific terrorist incidents included:
- In mid-January 2015, Boko Haram kidnapped 80 people in Mayo Tsanaga and killed four villagers.
- On April 9, Boko Haram fighters wearing Nigerian Army uniforms infiltrated the village of Guoues, located nine kilometers from the Dabanga border post. The attackers killed eight people including Issa Sale, the village chief.
- On April 16, a large Boko Haram force attacked the villages of Blabline and Bia, in the Kolofata district. They killed 24 civilians, set fire to houses, and stole a large number of cattle.
- In early May, Boko Haram killed 19 people in Tchebe-Tchebe and Ldaoutsaf, burned 76 market stands, and killed two members of the security forces in Zelevet.
- On July 12, two suicide bombers wearing niqabs blew themselves up in Fotokol, on the border with Nigeria, killing 10 civilians and a soldier from neighboring Chad. On July 22, two bombers detonated themselves near the central market in Maroua and its adjoining Hausa neighborhood, killing 21 persons and wounding 85 others, according to official figures. These were the first two suicide attacks in Cameroon.
- On July 19, Boko Haram killed 24 civilians, including multiple children in Kamouna, Far North Region. More than 80 assailants stormed and set fire to the village, located near Lake Chad in the northern strip of Cameroon.
- On July 26, in Afade, in the Logone and Chari division of the Far North Region, Boko Haram set the gendarmerie post on fire, killing four people who were in the station’s detention cells, including a suspected Boko Haram member who was being held by the gendarmes.
- On July 25, in Maroua, a suicide attack killed 23 civilians and wounded more than 80.
- On September 3, a double suicide attack hit the locality of Kerawa, some 10 kilometers from Kolofata district in the Far North Region, killing at least 40 people and injuring more than 150 others.
- On December 28, in Bodo, Far North Region, two female attackers self-detonated, but did not cause any civilian casualties.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The December 2014 law on terrorism and certain provisions of the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Military Justice Code were used to prosecute acts of terrorism.
The 2014 Law for the Fight Against Terrorism confers the death penalty for those found guilty of carrying out, abetting, or sponsoring acts of terrorism, including any activity likely to incite revolt in the population or disturb the normal functioning of state institutions. The bill was controversial, and members of the political opposition claimed that the definition of terrorism was too broad and could be used as a tool for political repression. Such criticisms have continued but have become more muted in the face of increased terrorist attacks in the Far North.
Faced with Boko Haram’s shift towards suicide bombings, and security challenges at its borders with Nigeria and the Central African Republic, the Cameroonian government increased coordination and information sharing among law enforcement, military, and intelligence entities, including the Directorate General for External Research, the National Army, the Rapid Intervention Unit (BIR), and the National Gendarmerie. During the year, the Government of Cameroon continued to receive U.S. capacity building training to improve its counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, including programs on the civil-military response to terrorism, border security, and information-led policing. The United States sent military personnel to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations as part of the fight against Boko Haram. These measures supported improvements in Cameroon’s ability to detect and respond to Boko Haram in general, and terrorist attacks specifically, although further efforts are needed for the country to become more effective in deterring terrorist incidents, to improve interagency coordination, and to become more professional in its response to terrorism.
Cameroon continued to issue regional biometric passports aimed at providing enhanced security for residents of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States zone. In response to terrorist incidents, Cameroon reinforced its border security by establishing more control posts and deploying additional military units, including the BIR, to the Far North. The government also increased screening efforts at ports of entry and highways, using terrorist screening watchlists as well as biographic information and biometric technology. The capacity of security forces to patrol and control all land and maritime borders remained limited, however, due to inadequate staffing and resources, leading to some uncontrolled border crossings. In many cases, residents of the Cameroon-Nigeria border area did not carry identification documents, making it difficult for officials to determine the identity of those seeking to cross the border.
Cameroonian military and police units proactively confronted and disrupted the activities of suspected Boko Haram members. Several significant arrests were made.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cameroon is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), which became a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body in October 2015 and is a body of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa. Cameroon has adopted a legislative architecture to implement anti-money laundering and financial supervision actions. It established a financial intelligence unit, the National Financial Investigation Agency, which processes suspicious transaction reports and initiates investigations and is a member of the Egmont Group. Cameroon has undergone a mutual evaluation by GABAC.
There were no reports of prosecutions or convictions for money laundering during the year. Under the newly adopted legislation, any person convicted of financing or using financial proceeds from terrorist activities would be sentenced to death.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Cameroon participated in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in February as well as subsequent CVE meetings. Cameroonian authorities have taken a series of measures to counter violent extremism, including forming partnerships with local, traditional, and religious leaders to monitor preaching in mosques. The Government of Cameroon partnered with faith-based organizations such as the Council of Imams and Religious Dignitaries of Cameroon (CIDIMUC) to educate citizens on the dangers caused by radicalization to violence and violent extremism, promote religious tolerance, and present religion as a factor for peace. This objective was furthered through targeted messaging in mosques, special prayer sessions, press releases, and through roundtable discussions and conferences bringing together people from various religious backgrounds. One of CIDIMUC’s strategies has been to work to improve the living conditions of imams.
International and Regional Cooperation: Cameroon actively participated in AU and UN peacekeeping operations, and its military schools trained soldiers and gendarmes from neighboring countries. Cameroon contributed forces to regional efforts to fight Boko Haram via the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) visited Cameroon from March 16 to 18 to assess Cameroon's implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1624; and to assess what type of technical assistance might be beneficial to Cameroon. In addition, Cameroon participates in regional trainings for criminal justice actors on a range of counterterrorism topics hosted by the IIJ.
Overview: The Government of Chad made countering potential terrorist attacks and threats from across the Sahel region a priority at the highest level. By engaging in the fight against Boko Haram in northern Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria; supporting the French-led mission in northern Mali; and passing counterterrorism legislation; Chad’s counterterrorism strategy focused on promoting internal and regional stability. Chad provided combat forces to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that also includes Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, and continued to take an active role in that coalition and fighting violent extremists in the Lake Chad region, Nigeria, and neighboring states. This follows Chad’s important contribution in 2013 to the French intervention in northern Mali, Operation Sabre, and its contribution to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
2015 Terrorist Attacks: Boko Haram attacked Chad in retribution for Chad’s role in the MNJTF and for countering Boko Haram in Nigeria and elsewhere in the region. Boko Haram’s attacks on villages, internally displaced persons camps, and military installations in the Lake Chad region represented a significant increase above and beyond the attacks on villages that were perpetrated in 2014. Attacks included:
On three days immediately before and during Ramadan, several attacks struck Chad's capital N'Djamena:
- On June 15, three suicide attacks against two police targets killed 33;
- On June 27, five policemen and six terrorists were killed during a police raid; and
- On July 11, a suicide bomber killed 15 in N'Djamena's main market.
- On November 8, suicide bombings killed two and injured 14 in Ngouboua, Lake Chad Region, following the withdrawal of Chadian troops.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Throughout the year, Chadian security forces executed several cordon and search operations in the Lake Chad region in an effort to prevent spillover from ongoing security operations in Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon that effectively squeezed Boko Haram further into Chadian territory. Following twin attacks in N’Djamena in June, the Government of Chad found and arrested the leadership of the Boko Haram cell in N’Djamena, leading to the discovery of a Boko Haram safe house in June and a large weapons cache in early July. The Government of Chad passed counterterrorism legislation on August 5. Law 034/PR/2015 explicitly criminalizes terrorism and provides penalties for those convicted of terrorist acts. The law imposes the death penalty on any person who commits, finances, recruits, and/or trains people for participation in acts of terrorism, regardless of where the act was intended to be carried out. The law extended the pre-trial detention period to 30 days, renewable twice on authorization from the public prosecutor. Penalties for lesser terrorist offenses were increased to life imprisonment.
On January 16, the Government of Chad received parliament’s approval to send troops to the northern regions of Cameroon near the Nigerian border. This decision, which received broad popular support, came amid rising concerns about the economic impact of the siege on the Chadian economy, as Chad depends heavily on the importation of goods that transit through Nigeria and northern Cameroon.
On July 12, Prime Minister Pahimi Kalzeubé Deubet addressed representatives of political parties and civil society leaders regarding terrorist threats as well as measures taken by the Government of Chad, and called for collaboration to increase vigilance and awareness to root out suspicious persons and accomplices. He praised the crucial role played by the entire political class and civil society in the fight against terrorism. He reiterated the measures taken in the context of the fight against Boko Haram, such as the ban on burqas and vehicles with tinted windows, and the cantonment of refugees from Nigeria in Baga Sola and specific camps.
On August 29, the Government of Chad tried, convicted, and executed 10 members of Boko Haram found guilty of planning the June 15 and July 11 suicide bombings that killed more than 48 people and wounded hundreds in N’Djamena. The alleged Boko Haram members were tried by Chad’s highest criminal court magistrates in a three-day Special Criminal Session that began on August 26. The trial was open to the press on its first day, but then moved to an undisclosed location and was closed to the media and public due to concerns that Boko Haram might attack the court or attempt to free the defendants. The accused were prosecuted by Chad’s Procurer General and represented by assigned lawyers. As the attacks took place before the August 5 passage of new counterterrorism legislation, the suspects were tried under non-terrorism related charges, including murder, causing destruction using an explosive device, fraud, illegal possession of firearms, and abuse of psychotropic drugs. The defendants were convicted based on a public admission of guilt by some members before the court and no physical evidence against them was reportedly presented.
While Chadian law enforcement units displayed basic command and control capacity, the Director-General of the Chadian National Police has requested more training in investigation, crisis response, and border security capacity. All 22 police brigades performed counterterrorism functions. Law enforcement leadership professed publicly the requirement for all law enforcement officers to respect human rights.
The Director-General of the police has shown dedication to the improvement of the Chadian National Police, including through information sharing within the various police units, new uniforms, new weapons, and a pay raise.
The Government of Chad increased screenings at border-crossings to try to prevent infiltration by members of Boko Haram and Central African militias, and the transit of illegal arms, drugs, weapons, and other contraband into the country. Border patrol was provided by a combination of border security officials, gendarmes, police, and military. Border officials, particularly police at the Ngueli bridge border crossing between N’Djamena and Kousseri, Cameroon; took security measures that included controlling of taxi and motorcycle traffic; searching cars, trucks, and pedestrians at points-of-entry to screen for weapons, drugs, explosives, and other contraband; and continuing the use of the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) biometric screening system that was adopted in 2013. Chad has the capability to conduct biographic screening at multiple land and air ports of entry.
Chadian security forces executed several cordon and search operations in the Lake Chad region in an effort to prevent spillover from ongoing security operations in Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Chad continued its participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. In 2015, the Government of Chad signed an accord with the U.S. Embassy for the designation of a police response unit to U.S. facilities and personnel under the Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response (SPEAR). This multi-year U.S.-funded program directly supports the Chadian National Police with the necessary training and equipment to respond to a terrorist incident, particularly targeting U.S. facilities.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Chad is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Chad’s financial intelligence unit, the National Agency for Financial Investigation (ANIF), is a member of the Egmont Group.
Chad’s underdeveloped financial sector is primarily cash-based and lacks sufficient capacity to enforce banking security. ANIF continued to face serious resource constraints rendering financial intelligence reporting and analysis limited. Additionally, law enforcement and customs officials require further training in financial crimes enforcement. Several banks reported suspicious transactions. The government lacked equipment to monitor transactions and did not track money transactions through wire transfer services (i.e. Western Union), hawala remittance systems, or SMS mobile money transfers.
In September, the Bank of the Central African States (BEAC) took measures to strengthen information technology resources vigilance, to improve detection, automated alerts, and tracking to identify sensitive or suspicious transactions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: On July 17, Prime Minister Kalzeubé informed national religious leaders of the measures the government took following the terrorist attacks in N’Djamena and asked them to educate their followers on the government’s security measures. The next day, in Amdjarass, Region Ennedi-East, President Déby Itno received religious, administrative, and traditional authorities. Ten members of the Higher Council of Islamic Affairs attended the meeting. Members of the Islamic Committee of Ennedi-East reaffirmed their determination to encourage compliance with the law. On September 24, during Eid celebrations in N’Djamena, the imam of the grand mosque welcomed Government of Chad efforts against Boko Haram and urged Muslims to show solidarity and unity.
As a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), Chad continued to participate in targeted projects to counter violent extremism. Activities included youth empowerment, amplification of moderate voices, capacity building of national civil society organizations, and promotion of community governance. Two new community radio stations were added to the media landscape and two training centers were created to provide Muslim youth with marketable skills.
International and Regional Cooperation: Chad participated in the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Sahel Region Capacity Building Working Group in March in Dakar, Senegal. Chad is a member of the TSCTP, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, and the AU. Chad participated in the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s effort to establish the MNJTF, and deployed a contingent of 700 troops along Chad’s Lake Chad border to prevent infiltration by Boko Haram. It has also cooperated actively with Cameroon and Nigeria in operations to counter the threat of Boko Haram in its border regions, and continued to work with Sudan on the joint border commission the two countries had established in 2012 to better control the Chad-Sudan eastern border. It also began talks with Niger and Libya to form a tripartite border commission.
At an August 3 meeting held in Libreville, the heads of intelligence and security in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) developed measures against terrorism that include creation of specialized units, a regional institutional platform for information exchange, and improved cooperation and collaboration among security services and information.
In 2015, Chad hosted the multinational Special Operations-focused FLINTLOCK exercise. The exercise united more than 1,000 military and security sector personnel from more than 20 countries. The exercise focused on developing interoperable security capacity, building professionalism, and strengthening multinational bonds.
The G-5 Sahel was created in February 2014 to enable region-wide collaboration on the Trans-Sahara region’s political and security situation, and Chad participated in G-5 Sahel meetings held among the five member countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, along with representatives of the AU, UN, the Economic Community of West African States, the EU, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Chad continued to host the French government’s Operation Barkhane, a successor to Operations Serval and Epervier, formerly based in Chad and Mali, respectively.
Overview: Djibouti remained an active and supportive counterterrorism partner in 2015. Djibouti hosts Camp Lemonnier, which serves as headquarters to the U.S. Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. Djibouti’s notable counterterrorism activities in 2015 included increased training through the Department of State’s Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program and the deployment of a second battalion of soldiers to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
As a result of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and Bamako, Djibouti implemented enhanced security measures throughout Djibouti City. Separately, more than 30,000 people fled from Yemen to Djibouti from March to December as a result of the conflict in Yemen. This influx of people taxed government resources and revealed vulnerabilities in port and immigration security procedures. The United States provided Djibouti with significant capacity-building assistance through counterterrorism training and equipment from a variety of courses and programs sponsored by the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice. Djibouti publicly condemned Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) acts such as beheadings, as well as ISIL’s focus on recruiting vulnerable youth and its misuse of Islam to advance its goals.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Counterterrorism remained a high priority for all Djiboutian law enforcement entities due to Djibouti’s geographic location, porous borders, and an al-Shabaab attack in Djibouti City in May 2014. Djibouti has a legal framework for prosecuting terrorism-related crimes and can try terrorists in criminal courts using its penal code. However, Djibouti had not prosecuted any terrorism-related cases by the end of 2015. Djiboutian officials arrested and detained individuals connected to the 2014 terrorist attack, but no dates had been set for their prosecution by the end of 2015.
Djibouti’s most visible counterterrorism efforts were checkpoints and cordon-and-search operations within the capital city. There was also an increased emphasis at border control points to screen for potential security threats. The Government of Djibouti maintained enhanced protection of soft targets, including hotels and grocery stores, which it first implemented after the May 2014 attack. After the Paris and Bamako attacks in November 2015, Djibouti declared a two-month State of Emergency and implemented additional security measures throughout Djibouti City, including enhanced protection of popular hotels. Djibouti law enforcement extended vehicle searches throughout the city in an effort coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Djibouti also conducted various counterterrorism exercises at various sites in the capital in the wake of the Paris and Bamako attacks.
Djibouti’s law enforcement organization is composed of the Djiboutian National Police (DNP), the Djiboutian National Gendarmerie, the National Security Judiciary Police (NSJP), and the Djiboutian Coast Guard. In 2015, the DNP, National Gendarmerie, and the NSJP received training through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program as well as the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone. ATA assistance focused primarily on building technical capacity for improved crisis response and border security capabilities. The DNP, National Gendarmerie, and the NSJP also received training through the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Legal Attaché office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Djibouti’s law enforcement organizations routinely interacted with U.S. government counterparts and frequently sought U.S. input to identify potential terrorist suspects. Separately, the Combined Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), headquartered at Camp Lemonnier, provided the Djiboutian Armed Forces (DAF) with two counter-IED training programs, intended to instruct Djiboutian military personnel on how to recognize, find and counter, or avoid an IED.
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, one of which is the Loyada border crossing at the Somali border. In 2015, the United States assisted in the successful implementation of PISCES at both the Loyada border crossing and the Obock Port where Yemeni refugees are processed.
Djiboutian law enforcement personnel acknowledged the difficulty of securing their land borders as well as the coast. The DNP controls border checkpoints, and the DAF has responsibility for patrolling the border, with support from the Gendarme patrolling between border posts. In 2015, the DNP did not hesitate to close the southern border with Somalia based on the evaluation of credible threat information. The DAF also increased patrols during the year in response to threats.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Djibouti is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Central Bank of Djibouti houses a financial intelligence unit known as the Fraud Investigation Unit (FIU). Given its limited financial and human resources, the FIU has been unable to perform its core functions and instead focuses on banking supervision. The FIU made no referrals of cases to law enforcement involving suspected terrorism financing in 2015.
Djibouti’s Central Bank places the responsibility for staying updated on sanctions lists with the financial institutions themselves. Many of the financial institutions operating in Djibouti have software packages that include links to the UN sanctions lists and the lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the EU. The Djiboutian Central Bank monitors compliance with these lists through routine supervision and audits of the financial institutions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Djibouti participated in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in February, as well as all subsequent ministerial-level CVE meetings. The Djiboutian government also agreed to host an East Africa CVE Center of Excellence and Counter-Messaging hub that will serve as a platform to allow the development and exchange of ideas, best practices, and solutions to help counter extremist ideology and narratives throughout the Horn of Africa.
Separately, the Government of Djibouti, via the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, continued to implement a law on state control of mosques to address political activity from mosques and counter the potential for violent radicalization. The law required the conversion of imams into civil service employees and transferred mosque property and assets to the government.
International and Regional Cooperation: Djibouti is a member of the AU and deployed its second battalion of troops to AMISOM in January 2015. Djibouti is also a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Overview: The Government of Eritrea continued to make regular public statements about its commitment to fighting terrorism. Additionally, it participated in the Countering Violent Extremism Conference in Kenya in June and the UN Global Counterterrorism Forum Conference in Morocco in July, making strong statements at both international gatherings. Also, on December 21, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press statement expressing its support for the Saudi initiative to form an alliance against terrorism.
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 UNSC sanctions since December 2009 as a result of past evidence of support for al-Shabaab and regional destabilization. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1907 (2009) and 2013 (2011) continued 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.” The Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group’s 2014 and 2015 reports found no evidence that Eritrea is supporting al-Shabaab.
Lack of transparency on how governing structures function means that there is not a clear picture of the methods the Government of Eritrea uses to track terrorists or maintain safeguards for its citizens. For a number of years, members of the police have refused to meet with security officials from western nations to discuss policy matters, although the U.S. government had informal contact with law enforcement counterparts in 2015.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Articles 259-264, 269-270, and 282 of the Eritrean Penal Code, grandfathered into present-day law from Ethiopia’s 1957 code, criminalize terrorist methods; measures of intimidation or terrorism; acts of conspiracy carried out by organized armed bands; offenses that make use of arms, means, or support from foreign organizations; use of bombs, dynamite, explosives, or other 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; offenses against property; offenses against the state; offenses against the national interest; offenses against 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.
The Government of Eritrea does not share information about its ports of entry, law enforcement actions, arrests or disruptions of terrorist’s activities or prosecutions. Entities including the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Police, and Immigration and Customs authorities all potentially have counterterrorism responsibilities. There are special units of the NSA that monitor fundamentalism or extremism. Chain of command may work effectively within some security and law enforcement elements, but there are rivalries and responsibilities that overlap between and among the various forces. Whether information sharing occurs depends on personal relationships between and among particular unit commanders. Many soldiers, police officers, and immigration and customs agents, are young national service recruits or assignees, performing their jobs without adequate training.
The Eritrean government 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 the training and technology to recognize fraudulent documents.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Eritrea is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. This gap impedes any overall assessment of the risks the country faces in regards to terrorism financing. Eritrea’s general lack of transparency on banking, financial, and economic matters makes the gathering of definitive information difficult. There is no available information to indicate that Eritrea has identified any terrorist assets or prosecuted any terrorism financing cases. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: In June, Eritrea participated in the regional Countering Violent Extremism conference hosted by Kenya in Nairobi. While Eritrea’s laws and the public statements of Eritrean officials stressed the importance of preventing violent extremism in Eritrea, the lack of transparency from the government made it impossible to assess whether they have implemented initiatives aimed at prevention, counter-messaging, or rehabilitation and reintegration.
International and Regional Cooperation: Eritrea is a member of the AU. In 2015, Eritrea increased its military cooperation with the Gulf States and increased its political support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen. Eritrea would like to reactivate its membership in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); however, Eritrea’s return to IGAD is opposed by Ethiopia and Djibouti, both of whom had military conflicts and have ongoing border disputes with Eritrea.
Overview: The continuing threat of al-Shabaab emanating from Somalia dominated the Government of Ethiopia’s security posture and the Ethiopia National Defense Force’s (ENDF’s) counterterrorism efforts in Somalia. Therefore, the Government of Ethiopia’s counterterrorism efforts focused on fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia and pursuing potential threats in Ethiopia. In 2015, the Government of Ethiopia collaborated with the United States on regional security issues and participated in capacity building trainings.
In April, the Government of Ethiopia denounced the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in response to a video released by ISIL in Libya that showed the beheading of 30 Ethiopian migrants. In October, the Government of Ethiopia arrested 20 Ethiopians alleged to support ISIL, which marked the first time the Ethiopian government arrested alleged ISIL supporters.
On December 11, an unknown attacker threw a hand grenade at a crowd that injured about 10 outside the Anwar Mosque in Addis Ababa. The motive and other details of the attack were unclear.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Ethiopia uses the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), implemented in 2009, to prosecute crimes associated with terrorist activity. It also continued to use the ATP, however, to detain and prosecute journalists, opposition figures, and activists – including Muslim activists, releasing some but also making new arrests during the year. However, prosecutors are increasingly focusing on evidence-based prosecutions. Prior to the court reaching a decision, the prosecution examined its evidence against five Zone 9 bloggers and dismissed the cases for lack of sufficient evidence in July.
The ENDF, the Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP), Ethiopian intelligence, and regional special police worked successfully to block al-Shabaab attacks in Ethiopia. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which had broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation, was responsible for overall counterterrorism management in coordination with the ENDF and EFP. The three security organizations comprise the Ethiopian Task Force for Counterterrorism, a federal-level committee to coordinate counterterrorism efforts. NISS facilitated some coordination with the United States.
Border security was a persistent concern for the Government of Ethiopia, and the government worked to tighten border controls with Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. Ethiopia employed the Terrorist Interdiction Program’s Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to conduct traveler screening and watchlisting at airports and other points of entry.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Ethiopia is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and its mutual evaluation was adopted by that body in March 2015. Ethiopia has yet to finalize its National Risk Assessment for money laundering and terrorism finance. The Government of Ethiopia’s poor recordkeeping system in general, and lack of centralized law enforcement records in particular, hindered the country’s ability to identify and investigate trends in money laundering and terrorism financing. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Ethiopia prioritized countering violent extremism initiatives in 2015, which included participating in the September Leader’s Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism hosted by President Obama in New York. The Government of Ethiopia adopted strategies and programs to counter violent extremism, the most noteworthy of which was the Growth and Transformation Plan II, a five-year plan that seeks to address the socio-economic factors that terrorists exploit for recruitment. The Government of Ethiopia planned to support the CVE Center for Excellence in Djibouti to discuss prevention and counter-messaging strategies.
At the same time, the Government of Ethiopia’s continued restrictions on funding to civil society and NGOs under the Charities and Societies Proclamation limited NGO activity – including countering violent extremism programming targeting at-risk youth and engaging communities and credible leaders.
International and Regional Cooperation: The Government of Ethiopia participated in AU-led counterterrorism efforts as part of AMISOM forces in Somalia. At the AU, Ethiopia participated in counterterrorism-related efforts. Ethiopia is chair member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and participated in its counterterrorism programs and trainings; and the IGAD Security Sector Program, which builds the capacity of criminal justice officials in the region to implement rule of law-based approaches to preventing and responding to terrorism.
The Government of Ethiopia also supported counterterrorism efforts in Somalia with the Somali National Army (SNA) and other regional security initiatives. In multilateral efforts against terrorism, the Government of Ethiopia generally supported international directives that sought to stem terrorism, including IGAD’s efforts to encourage the dissemination of information concerning cross-border terrorist activity. Ethiopia participated in the inaugural meeting of the Border Security Initiative, which was held in Morocco under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Ethiopia is an active member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism.
Overview: Kenya is a strong partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism throughout East Africa. Kenya faced an ongoing terrorist threat from the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, against which the Kenya Defense Forces have engaged in military operations in Somalia since 2011 as part of the African Union Forces in Somalia (AMISOM). Kenya continued to face serious terrorism challenges within its own borders in 2015. Most notably, the April al-Shabaab attack on Garissa University College killed at least 147, mostly students, and there were other fatal attacks, particularly in Mandera, Garissa, and Lamu counties near the border with Somalia. There were no major terrorist incidents in Kenya’s two largest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa. Reports of violations of human rights by Kenya’s police and military forces during counterterrorism operations continued, including allegations of extra-judicial killings, disappearances, and torture.
Kenyan officials cooperated closely with the United States and other partner nations on counterterrorism issues, including investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases. Kenya is one of six countries participating in the President’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI) announced at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. SGI focuses on the management, oversight, and accountability of the security sector at the institutional level. In Kenya, SGI program priorities include border security and management, administration of justice, and police human resource management.
The Kenyan government focused increased attention on preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including Kenyans and other nationals, to join al-Shabaab in Somalia, as well as on Kenyan national fighters returning from abroad. Kenyan officials and civil society representatives participated in global events focusing on countering violent extremism and stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including the February White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism and the Leaders' Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism that took place on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September; both events were hosted by President Obama. The Kenyan government also fulfilled its pledge to host a regional CVE conference, which took place in June.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: The April al-Shabaab attack on Garissa University College left at least 147 people dead, most of them students, more than twice the death toll of the 2013 al-Shabaab attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi. The attack in Garissa was the worst single terrorist incident in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
Mandera, Garissa, and Lamu counties near the border with Somalia all experienced multiple terrorist incidents during 2015. In July, presumed al-Shabaab attacks killed 14 people near a military camp and 11 quarry workers in Mandera County, and five people in a firebomb attack on a vehicle in Lamu County.
In other incidents, al-Shabaab fighters temporarily took over small villages in Kenya near the Somali border and threatened villagers. There were no major terrorist incidents in Nairobi or Mombasa. This was significant given a number of very high profile international events that took place in Kenya over the year, including the visits of President Obama and Pope Francis, as well as Kenya’s hosting of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.
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 provide a strong legal framework under which to prosecute acts of terrorism. In late 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Security Laws (Amendment) Act of 2014 (SLAA), a set of provisions that altered 20 existing laws to further strengthen Kenya’s legislative framework to fight terrorism. Positive steps contained in the SLAA include the criminalization of participating in terrorist training, laying out the foundation for a coordinated border control agency, strengthening the mandate of Kenya’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), and broadening evidentiary standards to allow greater use of electronic evidence and recorded testimony in terrorism prosecutions. Civil society groups, the political opposition, and the Commission on Human Rights contested several provisions of the SLAA, including those that affected freedom of speech, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the rights of the accused and refugees, arguing they violated constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties and contravened Kenya’s international obligations. In February 2015, the High Court struck down eight provisions of the SLAA as unconstitutional.
The Kenyan judiciary demonstrated independence, exemplified by the actions of the High Court in relation to the SLAA, and competence in cases related to terrorism. However, the judiciary remained hampered by a lack of sufficient procedures to allow the effective use of plea agreements, cooperation agreements, electronic evidence, and other undercover investigative tools. Allegations of corruption in the judiciary, including in the High Court, have persisted.
In April, in the aftermath of the Garissa University College attack, the Inspector General of National Police Service released via the official Kenya Gazette a list naming 87 individuals and organizations, including financial institutions and NGOs, suspected of associating with terrorist organizations. Following the Gazette notice, the Central Bank issued orders to freeze the funds of those organizations and individuals and the NGO Coordination Board took steps to cancel the licenses of three NGOs: human rights groups Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa, as well as the Agency for Peace and Development (APD). All three organizations challenged the deregistration decisions in court. In June, 13 money transfer organizations mainly serving the Somali community included in the Gazette Notice were reinstated by presidential decree. In September, authorities re-registered APD. In November, Haki Africa and MUHURI succeeded in a legal challenge to their inclusion in the list and the Kenyan High Court ruled that their funds should be unfrozen.
In line with the security sector reorganization outlined in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, the Government of Kenya divided counterterrorism functions among the three branches of the National Police Service – the Kenya Police [including the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU)], the Directorate of Criminal Investigations [including the investigative Anti-Terrorism Police Unit], and the Administration Police [including the Rural Border Patrol Unit] – as well as non-police agencies such as the National Intelligence Service and elements of the Kenya Defense Forces. Operational effectiveness remained impeded by limited interagency coordination, resources, and training, as well as corruption among some personnel and unclear command and control. The response to the attack at Garissa University College, while slowed by command, control, and logistics support issues, exhibited better interagency coordination between police and military elements than the 2013 Westgate attack, and police tactical units resolved the situation swiftly once deployed.
Kenyan security and justice sector officials participated in a range of U.S. government-sponsored capacity-building programs funded and implemented by the U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense. These programs included training in crisis response, border operations, investigations, and prosecutions. Notable among these was the Department of State’s second annual East Africa Joint Operations Capstone exercise, a month-long crisis response training series hosted in Kenya for Kenyan, Ugandan, and Tanzanian law enforcement personnel; the exercise culminated in a large-scale simulation of a response to a terrorist incident, including a cross-border pursuit that also featured community engagement and human rights-related issues.
Border security remained a challenge for Kenya due to its vast, sparsely populated border regions and largely uncontrolled borders. This was exacerbated by security agency and other government resource gaps and corruption at multiple levels. However, there were signs of improved interagency cooperation, exemplified by the successful joint police-military-intelligence operation to rescue a kidnapped aid worker 30 km inside Somalia in October.
Kenyan officials emphasized the importance and challenges of border security in their ongoing discussions with U.S. counterparts, particularly in the context of the SGI, which has included successful exchange visits with U.S. border security officials that helped increase Kenyan government interagency cooperation on border security, leading to the development of a draft Kenyan government border-control strategy. A lack of capacity on border security and inadequate systems of national identification hampered law enforcement agencies’ ability to identify and detain potential terrorists entering and leaving Kenya. Terrorist screening watchlists, biographic and biometric screening, and other measures were largely in place at major Kenyan ports of entry, but screening procedures were sometimes inconsistently or minimally applied, particularly at smaller border posts. Large stretches of the Kenya’s land borders are relatively uncontrolled. Kenya continued its partnership with the United States to strengthen Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) border controls at major ports of entry.
The Kenyan government focused increased attention on preventing the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, including Kenyan nationals attempting to join al-Shabaab in Somalia, as well as Kenyan national fighters returning to the country from abroad. A high-level Kenyan government delegation and civil society representatives participated in the September Leader’s Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism hosted by President Obama in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), as well as participated in other UNGA side events regarding foreign terrorist fighters.
Kenyan security services detected and deterred terrorist plots during 2015 and responded to dozens of claimed, or presumed, terrorism-related incidents. Kenyan law enforcement did not repeat the widely-criticized large-scale security operations of 2014 that appeared to target communities. Nonetheless, Kenyan military, paramilitary, and police forces were accused of serious abuses. A draft report by the government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights implicated Kenyan security forces in 25 extrajudicial killings and the disappearances of 81 civilians. The government took limited steps to address cases of alleged unlawful killings by security force members. Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) continued to make progress in fulfilling its mandate by investigating multiple cases of police misconduct and referring more than 20 of these to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
At the end of 2015, several major terrorism cases remained ongoing, including the trial of four Kenyans and one Tanzanian charged in June in connection with the Garissa University College attack. That trial was postponed in August for administrative reasons, and had not resumed by year’s end. In December, the Mombasa High Court sentenced British terrorist suspect Jermaine Grant to nine years on charges related to trying to obtain Kenyan citizenship illegally. At the end of the year, Grant still faced separate explosives-related charges in a second, ongoing trial.
Kenyan law enforcement agencies worked with regional organizations and the broader international community, including the United States, to increase its counterterrorism capacity and to secure land, sea, and air borders. Kenyan law enforcement has benefited from U.S.-funded trainings including, for example, those to increase its capacity to respond to incidents of terrorism and improve the capacity of airport security staff to better recognize man portable air defense systems (MANPADs).
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. The Kenyan government is working to implement relevant UN Security Council Resolutions to restrict terrorism financing. Kenya made further progress in implementing its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime in 2015 following its 2014 removal from the FATF’s continuing monitoring process.
Kenya’s Financial Reporting Center (FRC) made progress in becoming fully operational and continued to build its capacity to monitor the formal financial system. The organization has not yet appointed a permanent director. The FRC remained hampered by a lack of essential resources and faced challenges meeting minimum staffing, physical security, and information technology requirements. The FRC also lacks an electronic reporting system for suspicious transactions. The Central Bank of Kenya continued to encourage Kenyan citizens and residents to use the formal financial sector, which is subject to regulatory oversight and would increase overall financial transaction integrity, though use of unregulated informal financial mechanisms, including hawalas, continued.
Kenya’s NGO Coordination Board came under fire in October for announcing the de-registration of more than 900 civil society organizations for allegedly failing to comply with mandated NGO financial reporting requirements. Following intense criticism from NGOs and others, including prominent politicians, the government reversed its decision and gave the groups more time to comply. The Kenyan government made a similar move to deregister more than 500 NGOS in 2014, which also was reversed following strong civil and political opposition.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: During 2015, the Kenyan government improved its engagement with civil society, particularly communities at risk of radicalization in the northeast of the country. It also increased its efforts and coordination with international partners to advance CVE efforts, including prevention of radicalization, counter-messaging, and the reintegration of foreign terrorist fighter returnees. The government made some gains in CVE efforts, including the large-scale redeployment of ethnic Somali police officers to their home counties in Northeast Kenya to improve public confidence in the police with communities at risk of radicalization. The government also undertook some small-scale efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate former al-Shabaab fighters, facilitators and sympathizers, but efforts were constrained by the lack of a defined strategy, clear legal framework, or supportive public messaging. Senior Kenyan officials and civil society representatives participated in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February and the Kenyan government hosted a regional CVE conference in June. Kenyan civil society organizations worked to address the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism in Kenya, often with assistance from the United States and other international partners.
International and Regional Cooperation: Kenya is an active member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and the AU, including on the Peace and Security Committee, and as a troop-contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia. Kenya remains engaged with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and hosted an IGAD Security Sector Program validation workshop on a countering violent extremism study in October. Although not a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Kenya is an active participant in GCTF activities, agreed to serve as a pilot country for the GCTF-endorsed International CT/CVE Clearinghouse Mechanism, and hosted a GCTF Border Security Initiative workshop for the Horn of Africa in December. Kenya also organized and hosted a regional CVE conference as a follow-up to the White House February CVE Summit. These events were Kenya's major contribution to regional capacity building. In December, Kenya was selected as a beneficiary of the Global Community Engagement and Resiliency Fund.
Overview: The Government of Mali remained a willing U.S. counterterrorism partner despite serious challenges. Continued terrorist activity spread beyond Mali’s largely ungoverned northern regions, and lackluster implementation of the June peace accord between the Malian government and two coalitions of armed groups hampered the return of public services and security to the north. Mali continued to rely heavily on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and French forces to provide a measure of stability and security to the northern regions. As the government and northern armed political movements slowly began to implement the peace accord from October to December, terrorist groups increased their attacks on all parties to the accord, including former rebel groups with which they had briefly allied. There was also a growing concern about terrorist activities in the central and southern regions.
The French military continued its integrated counterterrorism mission for the Sahel region under Operation Barkhane, based out of Chad. In cooperation with Malian forces, Barkhane launched numerous operations to degrade the remaining violent extremist elements operating in northern Mali, including al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Murabitoun (AMB), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), the Macina Liberation Front (MLF), and Ansar al-Dine (AAD). Domestic and international security forces believed most, if not all of these groups, were coordinating their efforts. Other significant counterterrorism efforts included Operation Seno, which the Malian military launched in October to combat terrorism and banditry in the Mopti Region. MINUSMA consolidated its northern presence in 2015, particularly in the Kidal region, and continued its work with the Malian government and signatory armed groups to facilitate the redeployment of Malian administrators and security forces to the north.
Despite significant security improvements in some parts of the northern region, terrorist groups remained active, exploiting the lack of effective governmental control. Troop drawdowns linked to the reconfiguration of French military operations added to the lack of security. IEDs and land mines were used for the majority of attacks against UN peacekeepers. MINUSMA noted an approximate 42 percent increase in such attacks from January to November, compared to the same period in 2014.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: AQIM, MUJAO, AMB, and AAD continued to conduct terrorist attacks in 2015, primarily targeting international and Malian military forces. In January, attacks by violent Islamist extremist groups began moving beyond the traditional conflict zone in the north to the center and south of the country. Terrorist incidents included:
- On March 6, an attack later claimed by AMB killed five civilians at La Terrasse nightclub in Bamako.
- A July 2 attack claimed by AQIM on the Goundam Road near Timbuktu killed six Burkinabe soldiers with the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission and injured five others.
- AMB and MLF claimed responsibility for an assault on the Byblos Hotel in Sevare near the Mopti airport that took place August 7-8. The attack resulted in the deaths of five civilians and four Malian soldiers.
- AQIM, AMB, AAD, and MLF all claimed responsibility for a November 20 attack on the Radisson Hotel in Bamako that resulted in the deaths of 19 civilians, including one U.S. citizen.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Implementation of Mali’s new penal code of 2013, intended to help counter terrorism and transnational organized crime, continued during 2015. The judiciary prosecuted one terrorism-related case during the year. The National Assembly passed a law on November 9 that defined the composition, structure, and functions of a special judicial unit focused on the fight against terrorism and transnational crime. Created in 2013 and staffed since 2014, the now fully-established unit took the lead in the investigation into the November 20 attack on the Radisson hotel.
Malian security forces and law enforcement responsible for counterterrorism efforts participated in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program and DoD-facilitated trainings that included – but were not limited to – border security, crisis management, and police reform and effectiveness. The Malian Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and police agencies worked directly with the United States on efficient practices and counterterrorism-related training. More than 100 members of the National Police and Gendarmerie participated in a February IED recognition course that was held in Bamako and Mopti. The courses were sponsored by the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program and funded by the Department of State. The international team of instructors included officials from the FBI, UN, and the EU. Select Malian counterterrorism officials also participated in trainings conducted under the auspices of the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law. Training topics included preventing and denying the benefits of kidnapping for ransom, enhancing the role of parliamentarians in building effective counterterrorism systems, and countering foreign terrorist fighters.
The Malian Armed Forces and Air Force under the Ministry of Defense (MOD) remained the primary entities responsible for securing Mali against terrorist threats. The General Directorate of State Security under the Ministry of Security had the authority to investigate and detain persons for terrorism offenses. There were no specialized law enforcement units to conduct investigations, respond to crises, or ensure border security. Missions between law enforcement and military units that have a counterterrorism mission lacked delineation and coordination. Law enforcement units had a poor record on accountability and respect for human rights.
Although Mali has basic border security enforcement mechanisms, law enforcement units lacked capacity, training, and the necessary equipment to secure Mali’s porous borders. The United States worked with the Malian security forces at the Senou International Airport to expand the U.S.-funded Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) program to the newly installed VIP terminal. The gendarmerie, which reports to both the MOD and the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), and the national border police, which reports to the MOI, both 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 unavailable at some points of entry into Mali.
Customs officials use travel forms to collect biographical information from travelers at airports and manifests for information on goods transiting borders. When conducting investigations, customs officials and border police compare the biographic data on these forms against travel documents and the manifests against goods possessed. The exit and entry stamps used by border officials are inconsistent in size and shape, undermining efforts to authenticate travel documents.
In May 2012, Mali introduced an updated machine-readable passport linked to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mali’s passports, including the diplomatic and official versions, now incorporate additional security measures, including micro-printing, UV features, and a full-color digital photo. Unfortunately, many of the relatively sophisticated anti-fraud characteristics of the new Malian passport are rendered moot by the relative ease with which imposters can obtain fraudulent documents, such as birth and marriage certificates (which are still chiefly handwritten or typed on carbon paper, then tracked via municipal ledgers that are also handwritten).
Over the course of the year, the government opened 69 terrorism-related cases and detained 30 people for terrorism-related crimes. On June 15, the Malian courts sentenced Boubacar Abdou Maiga to two years in prison for his association with MUJAO and for killing one person. As in 2014, resource constraints, a lack of training in investigative techniques, and inexperience with trying terrorism cases continued to plague a weak judicial system.
Mali was very cooperative in working with the United States to prevent acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens in the country. The Malian judicial system welcomed the cooperation of U.S. law enforcement agencies in the investigation into the November 20 attack on the Radisson Hotel in which one U.S. citizen was killed. An Antiterrorism Assistance/Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response team of 24 National Guard members were activated in October as a Quick Reaction Force for Embassy Bamako in the event of another crisis.
The Malian military continued to struggle with command-and-control capacity. It remained insufficiently resourced and lacked personnel trained in effective law enforcement, counterterrorism investigative techniques, and enhanced border security operations. An interagency working group, within the Ministry of Internal Security and Civilian Protection, first conceived in 2013 and designed to reform the security sector, had not moved beyond the discussion phase at the end of 2015. MINUSMA continued to work with the government throughout 2015 to move this initiative from discussion to action.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Mali is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Mali’s financial intelligence unit, the Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières (CENTIF-Mali), is a member of the Egmont Group.
Seizure of assets must first be authorized by a judge within the judicial unit focused on the fight against terrorism and trans-border crime. Assets can be frozen indefinitely during the investigation period. Coordination between investigative agencies is poor, however, and not all suspected cases make it to court.
The majority of transactions in Mali are cash-based and difficult to regulate given resource constraints. Non-financial businesses and professions are not subject to customer due diligence requirements. Significant challenges to the CENTIF-Mali include a lack of training – especially for investigators who handle terrorism financing cases – as well as a lack of resources to adequately publicize regulations and provide training for bank and public sector employees outside of Bamako.
Countering Violent Extremism: While Mali has no official countering violent extremism (CVE) strategy in place, the Ministry of National Reconciliation developed a National Reconciliation Policy in 2014 that references the need to delegitimize violent extremist ideologies and promote social cohesion between communities. CVE considerations were also integrated into Mali’s "Program for Accelerated Development in the Northern Regions," as well as a draft decentralization policy. The Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible for working with the High Islamic Council and other religious associations to promote moderate Islam and maintain a secular state. Conversely, efforts to prevent increased radicalism and recruitment by violent extremist groups were hindered by the absence of Malian government control in much of the north.
International and Regional Cooperation: Mali remained active in regional organizations and international bodies including the Economic Community of West African States, the UN, and the AU. Mali remained active in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and also participated in Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) events. In an effort to implement the GCTF good practices on foreign terrorist fighters, Mali self-selected to serve as an initial pilot country for a Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) funding mechanism that emphasizes sustainability for local organizations, while supporting national Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) strategies and convening multiple stakeholders to provide relevant expertise and enable communities to develop localized CVE responses.
At a November 20 meeting in Chad, the heads of state of the G-5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) announced plans to create a joint regional force and military school. The Malian military participated in multinational counterterrorism operations in 2015, including with Operation Barkhane and the Mauritanian military. 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. In his address to the 2015 UN General Assembly, President Keita called on the international community to help rid the Sahel region of terrorism. He also expressed concern about the spread of terrorist organizations, including ISIL, saying such challenges called attention to the urgent need to reform the UN’s peacekeeping doctrine.
Overview: Mauritania remained a key regional counterterrorism partner in 2015. The Mauritanian government actively and effectively countered terrorism, building on an approach that hinges on improving the capacity of security forces and securing the country’s borders. As in years past, the Mauritanian authorities cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts and took advantage of opportunities to participate in U.S.-sponsored training on counterterrorism tactics and techniques.
Mauritania is not a safe haven for terrorists or terrorist groups, although regions in the interior are imperfectly monitored as a result of their geographic isolation from population centers and inhospitable desert conditions. Al-Murabitoun and similar violent Islamist extremist groups have a presence in the region, although al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) remained the leading terrorist threat to Mauritania.
Government authorities were alert to the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mauritania, as evidenced by a series of arrests of subjects suspected of recruiting for, or those purporting to swear allegiance to the group. Mauritanian political and religious personalities periodically condemned ISIL’s aims, methods, and activities in their public statements.
The Mauritanian government continued to develop its counterterrorism capabilities in order to implement UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 2178 (2014), 2199 (2015), and the UN 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime.
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 training organized by the United States through the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other international partners. On November 3, Mauritanian representatives attended a DOJ workshop in Rabat, Morocco, focused on building the institutional architecture needed to combat transnational crime and terrorism through effective regional cooperation, mutual legal assistance, and extradition laws.
Although Mauritanian security forces successfully deterred or prevented acts of terrorism in 2015, they did not face any great tests of capacity. Mauritania’s National Gendarmerie, a paramilitary police agency, and its National Security Directorate, which falls under the Ministry of Interior, were the primary law enforcement units performing counterterrorism functions. Cooperation and information sharing between the two organizations occurred sporadically.
Mauritania is committed to improving its counterterrorism capacity. Throughout the year, security forces personnel participated in eight separate courses funded by the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program.
In early December in Nouadhibou, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Mauritanian Ministry of Justice, the UN Development Program, and the French Cooperation Agency co-sponsored a seminar aimed at strengthening the criminal justice system in the northern regions of Mauritania. Over three days, U.S. experts and Mauritanian practitioners discussed best practices in the fight against organized crime and the ways to improve international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Border security is a priority of the Mauritanian government, yet it remained far from perfect in 2015 due to a lack of capacity and a standing policy that accords responsibility for different sections of the country’s long land borders to different formations of the security forces. Mauritania’s border forces employ biometric screening capabilities at some – but not all – ports of entry. Information-sharing efforts within the government and with other countries are nascent.
Mauritanian authorities arrested terrorist suspects in 2015. On April 20, a former member of al-Qa’ida (AQ), Abdul Rahman Ould Mohamed Hussein (alias Younis Al Mauritanie), was sentenced to 20 years after being convicted on terrorism-related charges. Younis was born in Saudi Arabia and joined AQ in 2001, where he was arrested by Pakistani authorities and transferred to Mauritania in 2011.
On June 16, a Nouakchott court convicted three young men – Mohamed Ould Ely Lasfar, Yacoub Ould Miyah Ould Balah, and Bukhari Ould Dahane – to 10, seven, and five years in prison, respectively, for belonging to an organization committed to performing terrorist crimes, incitement to violence, the use of religious symbols in a terrorist organization, and providing a meeting place for people involved in a terrorist organization.
On August 3, Mauritanian authorities released Sanda Ould Bounama, alias Sidi Mohamed Ould Bouama, a former spokesman of terrorist group Ansar al-Dine. Bounama had been held under an international arrest warrant issued on February 8, 2013 by a Malian court.
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 maintained observer status within the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa. The Financial Information Analysis Commission is Mauritania’s financial intelligence unit, which includes representatives of several ministries and agencies working together to counter financial crimes. In January, the Mauritanian government submitted to parliament a draft amendment to the 2005 law on money laundering and terrorism financing that aimed to harmonize legislation with its obligations under international law, including the UN 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. Although passed by the legislature, this bill had not been signed into law at year’s end.
Although legislation regulating alternative remittances exists, the Mauritanian government neither has the resources to monitor sizable flows of funds through the informal hawala money transfer system, nor considers doing so a priority. Terrorism financing is difficult to detect in Mauritania because of the informal nature of much of the economy and speculation that large amounts of drug money pass through the economy.
Countering Violent Extremism: The government continued to manage programs designed to counter violent extremism and offer alternatives to “at-risk” individuals. For example, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Traditional Education inaugurated 17 pilot mahadras for 2015. Each mahadra supports a workforce of at least 30 students (boys and girls) who each receive a monthly grant of approximately US $34. The government also continued to collaborate with independent Islamic religious organizations to promote moderation, sponsoring radio and television programming on the themes of temperance in Islam, and paying monthly stipends to imams who fulfilled the government’s selection criteria.
The government coordinated with the Mauritanian Institute for Strategic Studies to host a regional conference entitled, “The Culture of Peace and Moderation as a Way to Counter Violent Extremism: the Mauritanian Approach,” in Nouakchott on August 19-20. Approximately 200 representatives from governments in West Africa and the Sahel and Maghreb regions, multilateral bodies, faith-based organizations, the international donor community, and other civil society members attended the conference. Building on many of the core themes of the February White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the conference explored ways to research and identify the tools necessary to understand the local drivers of violent extremism; how to engage the whole-of-society in building and securing resilient communities by addressing social, political, and economic grievances; how to assess the factors that contribute to youth involvement in violent extremism; and how to evaluate the roles civil society, youth, women, and faith-based leaders can play in partnership with local and national governments to prevent violent extremism
International and Regional Cooperation: Mauritania remains an active member of the UN, the AU, and the Sahel G-5, a regional cooperation partnership. The G-5 Sahel was created in February 2014 to enable region-wide collaboration on the Sahel-Sahara region’s political and security situation, and Mauritania participated in G-5 Sahel meetings held among the five member countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, along with representatives of the AU, UN, the Economic Community of West African States, the EU, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Mauritania is also an active member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership.
Overview: In 2015, Boko Haram repeatedly crossed the border from Nigeria to launch multiple attacks in the Diffa Region of Niger, leading to numerous civilian and security forces deaths. Additionally, hundreds of Nigerian soldiers and tens of thousands of displaced persons fleeing from Boko Haram crossed into Niger, further adding to tensions in Diffa. The Government of Niger deployed additional military and law enforcement resources to this area.
Suspected members of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other terrorist organizations continued to transit through the vast northern part of Niger in the areas bordering Algeria, Chad, Libya, and Mali. Weapons and contraband were moved through these areas, some of which were interdicted by the Nigerien military. During 2015, using foreign assistance, the Nigerien military continued to increase its capability to patrol, collect information, and interdict terrorists in the north.
Niger remained an outspoken opponent of terrorism in the region, continued to cooperate with international partners – including the United States – and received substantial international counterterrorism assistance. Niger is one of six countries participating in President Obama’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI). The United States and Niger signed a Joint Country Action Plan for SGI in October 2015, focusing on developing a national security review and strategic framework, aligning existing human and material resources more efficiently to address short- and long-term security needs, and external communications.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: There were dozens of localized attacks in the Diffa Region, many leading to loss of life, injury, and loss of property. Attacks included:
- On February 6, Boko Haram terrorists attacked Diffa town and Bosso town in Diffa; one civilian was killed.
- On September 25, approximately 10 Boko Haram terrorists attacked N’Gourtouwa village in Diffa, killing 15 villagers, including the village chief.
- On October 4, four individuals detonated suicide bombs in two locations near Diffa town, killing five civilians and one police officer.
- On October 27, Boko Haram terrorists killed 13 civilians in the village of Ala in Diffa.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Niger’s laws criminalize acts of terrorism consistent with international instruments on terrorism. Recent amendments to the code of criminal procedure created a specialized counterterrorism jurisdiction and authorized stronger investigative techniques. Niger’s interagency counterterrorism investigative entity, the Central Service for the Fight against Terrorism (SCLCT), includes a separate operational cell in the regional capital of Diffa, where the majority of terrorist attacks occur.
The law enforcement and security services of Niger were actively engaged in detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism in Nigerien territory. A lack of sufficient manpower, funding, and equipment made this more difficult, however. Counterterrorism investigations in Niger are primarily the responsibility of the SCLCT, which is made up of representatives from Niger’s three primary law enforcement organizations: the National Police, the National Guard, and the Gendarmerie. Information sharing occurred among the law enforcement agencies of SCLCT.
Niger’s long borders and areas of harsh terrain make effective border security a challenge, specifically in the north along the borders with Algeria, Libya, and Mali. These borders are very difficult to secure and patrol, and are often exploited by smugglers. Niger attempted to improve its border security by increasing the number of border control facilities and requesting assistance from partners to construct and equip facilities. Niger continued to use rudimentary terrorism watchlists that it shares with the security services and at border checkpoints, although the lists were not frequently updated. The ability to conduct biographic and/or biometric screening remained limited to Niamey’s international airport and one border control point. Niger’s air surveillance capability increased. Niger has the ability to collect advance Passenger Name Records and is able to use these records in counterterrorism efforts.
Information sharing within the Government of Niger is sometimes slow between services due to stove-piping or a lack of communications equipment. Resource constraints across the spectrum of basic needs, such as electricity, radios, reliable vehicles, computers, technology, and personnel, along with resource constraints within the Ministries of Justice and Interior, made it difficult for the Government of Niger to provide strong law enforcement and border security. Additionally, effective whole-of-government coordination in the fight against terrorism continued to present challenges, and capacity remained lacking in areas such as proactive investigations and non-confession-based prosecutions.
Throughout 2015, the SCLCT arrested terrorist suspects on charges that included planning acts of terrorism, association with a terrorist organization, recruitment, and terrorism financing. At year’s end, approximately 1,200 terrorism suspects were detained in Niger awaiting trial, including at least 70 minors. Most of the cases were under review by investigating judges.
Niger continued to receive counterterrorism assistance from a variety of international partners, including the United States, the EU, France, and the UN. Niger continued to permit French forces to be based in Niamey, as well as in other locations to conduct operations such as ground and air surveillance. The United States provided terrorism assistance to Nigerien law enforcement – primarily through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, a Resident Legal Advisor from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Global Security Contingency Fund, a joint interagency program between the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Niger is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Niger’s porous borders and historical trafficking routes make it easy for terrorists to transfer large sums of cash. At year’s end, suspected AQIM and Boko Haram members were awaiting trial on charges of terrorism financing. In 2015, Niger’s financial intelligence unit, CENTIF, joined the Egmont Group. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: Niger’s strategy to counter violent extremism included the Sahel-Sahara Development and Security Strategy (SDSS), which aimed to improve security through access to economic opportunities and employment, especially for youth; access to basic social services; good governance at the community and local authority level; and reintegration of forced returnees from Algeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Libya, and Nigeria. The SDSS launched four years ago, but it was not fully funded; therefore, results were limited.
Niger’s SDSS, supported by USAID’s Peace through Development II program, helped reduce the risk of instability and increased resiliency to violent extremism through such activities as strengthening moderate, non-extremist voices through radio, social media, and civic education; and working with religious leaders who promote religious tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict.
The Resilient Voices program supported credible Nigerien voices to promote peace, tolerance, and respect for Nigerien identity. In 2015, the Ministry of Justice’s Director of Reinsertion and Rehabilitation worked with the DOJ Resident Legal Advisor to identify and address needs in the prison system, including the lack of programs that focused specifically on rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist prisoners into mainstream society.
International and Regional Cooperation: Niger supported the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali by contributing an infantry battalion. Additionally, Niger worked with Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania at the General Staff Joint Operations Committee in Tamanrasset, Algeria. Niger participates in a judicial cooperation organization, the Sahel Judicial Platform, with other countries in the region.
Niger increased its efforts to improve joint patrols and operations with Algeria, conducted joint patrols with Chad and Nigeria, and increased its cooperation with Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries to fight against Boko Haram. Nigerien officials hosted and attended multiple international meetings concerning international efforts to counter the threat of Boko Haram. Niger is a member of and contributes troops to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) along with Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria.
Niger is an active member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. Nigerien officials continued to participate actively in regional programs organized by the Global Counterterrorism Forum Sahel and Rule of Law Working Groups. Niger contributed forces to regional efforts to fight Boko Haram via the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force
The G-5 Sahel was created in February 2014 to enable region-wide collaboration on the Sahel-Sahara region’s political and security situation, and Niger participated in G-5 Sahel meetings held among the five member countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, along with representatives of the AU, UN, the Economic Community of West African States, the EU, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Overview: Boko Haram continued to carry out kidnappings, killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property in 2015. The states where attacks occurred most frequently were in Nigeria’s northeast, particularly Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states. Attacks were also launched in Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Plateau, and Taraba states; and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Nigeria and its neighboring countries continued their military counter-offensive, forcing the terrorist group to abandon territories it had once controlled. In March 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); ISIL subsequently accepted Boko Haram’s pledge. While Nigeria and regional partners have made progress in driving Boko Haram from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, the group kept control over some territory and maintained its ability to carry out asymmetric attacks. Boko Haram increased its use of suicide bombings against civilian targets, including places of worship, markets, and bus stations. Throughout the year, suspected Boko Haram members killed Nigerian security officials and civilians of both the Islamic and Christian faiths.
The Nigerian government took a number of steps to increase counter-Boko Haram efforts in 2015. Nigeria worked with other Boko Haram-affected neighbors to form and lead the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that facilitated collaboration and coordination on counter-Boko Haram efforts. In cooperation with regional partners, Nigeria regained control over much of the territory in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states that had been captured by Boko Haram. Upon taking office in May, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the military command relocated to the newly created Maiduguri Command and Control Center in Borno State. President Buhari gave the armed forces a deadline of the end of December to complete the conventional campaign against Boko Haram, although the Nigerian government acknowledged that this ultimatum was ambitious and asymmetric attacks would likely continue.
Over the course of the year, members of the Nigerian military reported they increasingly received the resources needed to carry out counter-Boko Haram operations once Buhari took office and made significant changes to military leadership. The state of emergency that provided the Government of Nigeria additional authorities to prosecute a military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency expired in November 2014, but this did not have a notable negative impact on counter-Boko Haram operations. The Nigerian military, with help from its Lake Chad Region partners, freed thousands of people who had been living in villages under Boko Haram control. Despite reports of multiple attempts at negotiations with Boko Haram, there was no progress in freeing the girls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in April 2014. By December, Boko Haram was increasingly confined to the Sambisa Forest area of southern Borno State, as the Nigerian military attempted to isolate Boko Haram while preparing to clear Boko Haram camps in the area.
The Nigerian government began to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their home communities, although often without providing adequate security. With international partners, the Nigerian government set up several institutions to coordinate the reconstruction of Boko Haram-affected areas in the Northeast. However, by the end of 2015 there was no evidence of a coordinated plan to restore civilian security in recaptured territories.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: Although Boko Haram suffered setbacks in 2015, it withstood and adapted to the military offensive, and in just a few months managed a resurgence by returning to its previous practice of conducting asymmetric attacks on civilians, significantly escalating the number of suicide attacks in the region. In the span of two days in July, for example, Boko Haram attacked a mosque in Kano (Kano State) and a university in Zaria (Kaduna), and mounted mass-casualty attacks in Jos (Plateau), which included a suicide car bomb at a church, a suicide attack at a popular restaurant, and a rocket attack at a mosque. These three cities had previously been targeted by Boko Haram; they are outside of the majority ethnic-Kanuri parts of northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin region where Boko Haram’s influence is strongest. There were more than 1,240 persons killed by terrorist attacks in Nigeria in 2015. Some of the more notable attacks are listed below:
- On February 24 at a Kano bus station in Kano State, 34 persons were killed by three suicide bombers.
- On March 6 in Maiduguri in Borno State, the Baga Fish market, mosque, and bus terminal were attacked with 54 persons killed.
- On July 5 in Jos in Plateau State, 51 were killed in a bombing of a mosque.
- On November 30 in Maigumeri LGA in Borno State, Boko Haram killed seven civilians and a soldier in Bam and Gajigana villages. They also abducted an unspecified number of teenage girls.
- Also on November 30 in Kano, Kano State, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a Shiite Muslim procession that killed 22 people.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Nigeria's criminal law explicitly criminalizes terrorism, and the National Assembly has enacted the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2013 as Nigeria’s major counterterrorism legislation. In May 2015, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act came into force; it regulates the procedure of all criminal investigations and trials (including terrorism cases) in the federal courts.
Several Nigerian government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Ministry of Justice. The Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in northeast 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 2015, the Nigerian government participated in or hosted several multilateral efforts. The Nigerian government participated in U.S. counterterrorism capacity-building programs under the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, including the training of NPF members in the detection and handling of IEDs, which increased the NPF’s awareness and capacity to protect and preserve evidence from crime scenes of suspected terrorist acts. Through the Global Security Contingency Fund Counter-Boko Haram program, Nigerian police, customs officials, and immigration officers participated in interagency rural border patrol training to build the law enforcement sector’s ability to use all agencies to tackle rural border security challenges in an effective manner. The Nigerian government worked with the FBI to investigate specific terrorism matters, predominantly through its DSS. The Nigerian government provided IED components to the FBI for analysis at the Terrorist Device Analysis Center; and ONSA, DSS, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, and NPF explosive ordnance and post-blast personnel, worked with FBI special agents and special agent bomb technicians. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and NPF also received crime-scene training relevant to counterterrorism investigations.
Border security responsibilities are shared among NPF, DSS, Customs, Immigration, and the military. Coordination among agencies is often determined at a local level. Cooperation and information sharing in the Northeast increased between the Immigration Service and the Nigerian Army. The Government of Nigeria instituted the collection of biometric data for passport applications of all Nigerian citizens. Screening at the ports of entry of major airports in Nigeria, including in Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt, continued to improve in 2015, with Passenger Name Records being collected in advance for commercial flights. The capacity of security forces to control land and maritime borders remained a challenge.
Nigerian implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 2178, 2199, and the UN 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime continued to evolve as the Buhari administration has made national security a priority.
Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups in 2015 included:
- Aminu Ogwuche, the alleged planner of the April 14, 2014 Nyanya motor park bombing, was arrested in Sudan and extradited to Nigeria.
- The case against Nigerians Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and Saidi Adewumi, charged under Section 5(1) 8 of the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2013 with terrorist recruitment remained pending at the end of 2015. A six-count charge by the Government of Nigeria stated the subjects traveled to Iran and rendered support to an Iran-based terrorist organization via provision of matériel and terrorism training on the use of firearms and other weapons. The two were said to have collected the sum of US $4000 and US $20,000 from the terrorist group to source and train terrorist-minded Nigerian English speakers.
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 databases; corruption; misallocation of resources; the slow pace of the judicial system, including a lack of 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).
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. The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is a member of the Egmont Group. However, the autonomy of the NFIU is still undecided, as the legislation that would grant the NFIU independence from the EFCC has not been signed into law by the end of 2015. In addition, the EFCC – the agency whose remit includes all financial crime investigations and which houses the financial investigative expertise – is often excluded from participating in terrorism investigations, and is thus unable to fully contribute. The Nigerian government froze and confiscated terrorist assets as designated by U.S. Executive Orders and by UNSCRs; however, delays sometimes occurred. The Nigerian government did not monitor non-profit organizations to prevent misuse and terrorism financing. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm
Countering Violent Extremism: In an effort to better equip local communities with the means to prevent and counter violent extremism, Nigeria agreed to serve as an initial pilot country for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF). GCERF requires beneficiary countries to establish a multi-stakeholder “country support mechanism” that brings together government agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector to enable communities to develop localized CVE responses. Nigeria also agreed to serve as a pilot country for the Global Counterterrorism Forum-endorsed International CT/CVE Clearinghouse Mechanism, which is being developed as a means to help countries and donors optimize civilian counterterrorism and CVE capacity-building programs. CVE efforts continued to be hindered by the security forces’ harsh treatment of civilians, lack of trust between security services and communities, and lack of economic opportunities in the northeast.
An English language program to promote leadership, tolerance, and civic engagement was implemented to provide training of trainers – teachers and students – in Kano and Jos. English language clubs were also used to expand the teaching and themes of the program to youth in these states.
Dandal Kura, a shortwave radio program targeting northeastern Nigeria, continued to provide access to credible information for its listeners. Dandal Kura, which also uses a combination of high-tech and low-tech tools – including SMS, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and a website – to reach and interact with its audience, has developed a tremendous following since it went live in January 2015.
International and Regional Cooperation: Nigeria concluded its term as an elected member of the UN Security Council on December 31, 2015. Throughout 2015, Nigeria participated in presidential and ministerial-level meetings to address insecurity in northeastern Nigeria. Dialogue between Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria focused on strengthening regional cooperation, both bilaterally and under the auspices of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.
In September, President Buhari led a delegation to participate in the UN General Assembly and the Leader’s Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism hosted by President Obama in New York. Nigeria sought greater cooperation and coordination with neighboring countries to counter the effects of Boko Haram, yet has resisted taking control of the regional response. Nigeria is a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and the GCTF, and is also a participant in President Obama’s Security Governance Initiative.
Overview: The Government of Senegal continued to take a firm stance against terrorism as international and regional terrorist activity led to growing concern that Senegal itself could become a target for terrorist attacks. The government worked closely with U. S. military and law enforcement officials to strengthen its counterterrorism capabilities. The risk of violent extremism and terrorist activity in Senegal arises from transnational threats due to the Senegalese military presence in several theaters of operation, including the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Senegal has no comprehensive counterterrorism legislation. In 2007, however, the government amended the 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. The result of this amendment, Article 279 of the criminal code, allows the state to prosecute an individual or group that “intentionally undertakes an act to disturb public order, or the normal functioning of national and international institutions, through intimidation or terror.” The maximum penalty is life in prison.
Senegal’s gendarmerie, national police, customs, and national intelligence organizations lack capacity to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism in their own territory. Senegal is working to improve its law enforcement capacity by participating in multilateral efforts, such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF’s) Border Security Initiative and programs of the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Senegal also participated in U.S. government counterterrorism capacity-building programs, such as the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program, and received significant funding and training from the French government.
Senegalese officials have identified a lack of border resources and regional cooperation as major security vulnerabilities. Areas in the southern and eastern portion of the country have far fewer resources to detect and deter extremists from traveling through this area. Additionally, there is a lack of interagency cooperation and coordination across several of the government entities that deal with terrorism.
Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists in 2015 included the arrest of several religious leaders who were accused of having links with terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram and al-Qa’ida. In October, police made several arrests in order to expose a network of violent extremists who were associated with suspected Boko Haram leader Makhtar Diokhané.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Senegal is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Senegal’s financial intelligence unit, the National Financial Intelligence Processing Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group. At the regional level, Senegal implements the anti-money laundering/counterterrorism financing (AML/CFT) framework used by member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Among WAEMU countries, Senegal was the first to domesticate the regional AML/CFT legal framework.
Senegal did not enact any new laws or regulations on countering terrorism finance in 2015, nor did they prosecute anyone under their 2009 AML/CFT regulations. For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INSCR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: Strong cultural and religious traditions have made Senegalese society resistant to violent extremist ideologies. Islam in Senegal is organized around several influential brotherhoods which are generally tolerant and do not preach extremist ideology. These brotherhoods are also fairly resistant to external influences. The government has reached out to the brotherhoods to offer support in resisting violent extremism.
International and Regional Cooperation: Senegal is a member of the UN, AU, ECOWAS, OIC, and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. The government also participates in the GCTF’s Sahel Regional Capacity Building Working Group and hosted the 2015 African Land Forces Summit in collaboration with the U.S. Africa Command. Senegal hosted a second annual International Forum on Peace and Security in November. In May, President Macky Sall was elected as the Chairman of the ECOWAS committee and has put regional security cooperation at the top of his agenda.
Overview: Security and counterterrorism efforts in Somalia continued to progress in 2015 through a combination of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) offensives, U.S. military strikes against al-Shabaab operatives, law enforcement assistance, and countering violent extremism initiatives. However, despite significant security gains, including liberating key sections of rural areas in south-central Somalia, AMISOM, the Somali National Army (SNA), and other associated militias were unable to degrade effectively al-Shabaab’s ability to plan and execute attacks. Al-Shabaab leveraged clan politics and disputes to encourage distrust and noncooperation among local communities toward security forces operating in these areas. Al-Shabaab also exploited poor economic conditions to recruit new fighters. These vulnerabilities helped to undermine territorial gains that AMISOM and the SNA have achieved in the past few years.
An increasing division within the leadership of al-Shabaab was reported as some members sought to affiliate with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Despite internal divisions and increasing numbers of defections towards the end of 2015, al-Shabaab continued to conduct asymmetric attacks throughout Somalia and showed no indications of decreased operational capability. Al-Shabaab also exhibited the capacity to execute attacks against harder targets in Mogadishu, including the Mogadishu International Airport, Villa Somalia Presidential Compound, and popular hotels, and conducted a greater number of assassinations of government and security officials. Federal, local, and regional security authorities lacked sufficient capacity to prevent most al-Shabaab attacks. Somalia remained a terrorist safe haven, where members of al-Shabaab continued to plan and mount operations within Somalia and in neighboring countries, particularly in Kenya.
Somalia was an active supporter of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Specifically, Somalia participated in the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group and the Stabilization Support Working Groups. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also attended the Leader’s Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism hosted by President Obama in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: Al-Shabaab conducted complex suicide attacks, remote-controlled roadside bombings, ambushes, and assassinations of government personnel and military forces, security officials, and civil society leaders throughout Somalia. It also executed complex attacks in Mogadishu in a targeted campaign against Somali security forces and other government officials, government and foreign buildings, convoys, and popular gathering places for government officials, the Somali diaspora, and foreigners. Notable incidents in 2015 included:
- In March, al-Shabaab terrorists launched a complex attack against the Hotel Maka al-Mukaram in Mogadishu, detonating a vehicle-borne IED (VBIED), followed by a ground assault using small weapons and grenades. Al-Shabaab controlled the hotel for at least four hours until security agents from the National Intelligence and Security Agency's (NISA) elite paramilitary unit “Gaashaan” regained control. At least 13 people were killed, while approximately 20 others sustained injuries, according to NISA officials.
- In May, al-Shabaab terrorists launched a complex attack against the Somali Parliament compound in Mogadishu using a VBIED and a ground assault team of about seven to eight attackers armed with AK-47s. Two members of Parliament reportedly sustained injuries when the terrorists detonated the VBIED at the main gate. Security forces reportedly killed all the terrorists during the attack. Casualties included around 12 security officials from AMISOM, NISA, SNA, and the Somali Police Force (SPF). In addition, about 24 security officials and civilians sustained injuries.
- In June, al-Shabaab executed a complex attack on the popular Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu, detonating two VBIEDs and executing a ground assault by a small group of attackers. Up to 15 individuals were reportedly killed.
- In September, al-Shabaab attacked a Ugandan AMISOM forward-operating base in Janale, Lower Shabelle region, killing between 20 and 50 Ugandan AMISOM soldiers. After breaching the gate with a VBIED and bombing a bridge to cut off a potential escape route and AMISOM reinforcements, al-Shabaab was able to enter and take over the base for a limited amount of time until AMISOM troops retook the area.
- Also in September, al-Shabaab attacked a UN convoy as it was exiting the Somali Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, killing approximately 11 people, including two soldiers and the bomber, in addition to injuring several other victims. Nobody in the UN delegation was harmed in the attack, according to the Ministry of Internal Security.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) continued efforts to improve security in Mogadishu. It conducted security operations targeting known locations of weapons caches in private homes and businesses, but lacked counterterrorism laws and possessed limited investigative and enforcement capacity to prosecute terrorists successfully. Somalia followed an outdated penal code, last updated in 1962. Ministries responsible for drafting and submitting legislation to Parliament lacked the capacity to draft comprehensive counterterrorism laws. Due to the lack of civil judiciary capacity, the FGS tried all terrorism cases in a military court system.
There was some movement toward addressing these issues. The U.S.-trained SPF Joint Investigative Team (JIT) exhibited operational capacity to secure tactically and exploit counterterrorism-related crime scenes, as well as develop counterterrorism cases to launch prosecutions. The Attorney General’s office, with support from the UK and the United States, increased the number of prosecutors to 28, eight of whom possessed specific counterterrorism case training. Puntland lacked regional counterterrorism legislation and tried all terrorism cases using its state military court.
Somali law enforcement requires additional training to build basic police investigation skills, capacity to conduct cordon and search operations, and effective police coordination with the judiciary. The United States made considerable contributions towards the development and capacity building of the law enforcement sector. The U.S.-funded SPF JIT responded to multiple terrorist incidents, during which they secured the scene, collected evidence, maintained the integrity of the evidence by following chain of custody protocols, and ensured a safe hand-over of the evidentiary materials to the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) for further processing. NISA, Somalia’s lead counterterrorism organization, also began coordinating with the JIT during responses to critical incidents. While the SPF made measurable gains to manage terrorist incidents, the judicial system remained weak and underdeveloped, suffering from minimal interagency coordination and a lack of capacity and technical expertise.
Somalia has porous borders, and most countries do not recognize Somali identity documents, leaving Somalia with little to no travel document security. Somalia does not have a central or shared terrorist screening watchlist, nor does it possess biographic and biometric screening capabilities at ports of entry. There was minimal law enforcement cooperation between the federal and regional governments and U.S. law enforcement to investigate suspected terrorists, kidnappings, and other incidents of terror committed inside and outside of Somalia.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Somalia has observer status in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, but in 2015 had no laws criminalizing money laundering and terrorism financing. The Central Bank of Somalia drafted a comprehensive anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism law with assistance from the World Bank. At year’s end, the bill was approved by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) and passed by the Parliament. Somalia continued efforts to formalize its nascent financial sector, and develop the Central Bank’s capacity to supervise and regulate this sector, including hawalas (money service businesses). In 2015, Somalia did not have laws or procedures requiring the collection of data for money transfers or suspicious transaction reports, nor did it distribute the UN sanctions lists to financial services. Somalia lacks the funding and capacity to investigate and prosecute incidents of terrorism financing. The supervisory and examining section of the Central Bank began limited on- and off-site inspections and instituted procedures governing the licensing of commercial banks. However, federal authorities responsible for monitoring and regulating the financial sector suffered from limited staffing, funding, and technical expertise.
For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INSCR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Somali government improved its al-Shabaab counter-messaging efforts. It established a new position within the Ministry of Internal Security to develop and implement countering violent extremism (CVE) strategies and promote greater community involvement to counter al-Shabaab’s messaging and influence. Working with international partners, clan elders, and media experts, the Ministry began building greater awareness among communities of the destructive nature of violent extremism. The Ministry also solicited recommendations from populations with experience with al-Shabaab to help guide the design of CVE programs. The Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs completed its Wadajir (or “A Joint Project”) Framework on local governance, which outlines for international partners future local governance initiatives intended to complement ongoing stabilization efforts in newly-recovered areas. The Framework also empowers local community groups and government by providing local control over planning and contracting decisions.
Radio Mogadishu and state-owned TV stations broadcast counter-messaging programming. The Islamic Lecture Series (ILS), an hour-long, call-in radio talk show designed to promote a moderate form of Islam, helped undercut al-Shabaab’s message of violent extremism. The Ministry of Information aired the ILS on radio stations in Abudwaq, Baidoa, Beledweyne, Bossasso, Bulo Burte, Cadaado, Galkayo, Garowe, and Mogadishu.
International and Regional Cooperation: Somalia is a member of the AU, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Federal Government of Somalia expressed greater interest in increasing intelligence sharing and conducting joint operations against al-Shabaab with its Horn of Africa neighbors.
Overview: Following the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Kenya, the South African Police Service (SAPS) began engaging with U.S. law enforcement agencies to advance its preparedness for similar terrorist attacks in South Africa. U.S. law enforcement interacted primarily with Crimes Against the State (CATS) within the SAPS Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). The Foreign Branch (SSA/FB) of South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) and SAPS Crime Intelligence were also involved in counterterrorism.
The South African government has not publicly provided estimates of the number of South African nationals who have traveled to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-controlled territories and joined ISIL, but media have reported on multiple confirmed cases in 2015, in addition to the 140 cases estimated in 2014. Some travelers reportedly set up social media accounts to help recruit additional South Africans to join ISIL. Authorities kept track of those suspected of being part of terrorist groups, particularly those who have traveled and returned from Syria and Iraq. In January, one prominent South African family left Port Elizabeth to join ISIL. In April, SSA Minister David Mahlobo confirmed that a teenage girl detained at the airport in Cape Town was recruited by ISIL and intended to travel to Syria. An SSA spokesman confirmed there had been other “possible recruitments.”
In November, a South African driver’s license was found near the body of an ISIL terrorist killed in a blast in Iraq. Authorities were working at the end of 2015 to verify that the deceased was, in fact, the South African national.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004, regulates counterterrorism activity in South Africa. The Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, 1998 applies to nationals who attempt to join and have enlisted with ISIL. The SAPS Crime Intelligence Division, CATS, DPCI, and SSA are tasked with detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism within South Africa. The SAPS’ Special Task Force is specifically trained and proficient in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and hostage rescue. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is committed to prosecuting cases of terrorism and international crime.
In an attempt to tighten its borders and enhance national security, South Africa proposed amendments and made changes in 2015 to its immigration regulations. South Africa opened seven new visa facilitation centers in India and two in China to facilitate applications. Citizens of neighboring countries are no longer required to obtain visas for temporary visits, however, and regulation of visa, passport, and identity documents remained a challenge. The SAPS internal affairs office investigated allegations of corruption within the Department of Home Affairs concerning the sale of passports and identity documents, but the use of illegitimately obtained identity documents persisted.
Counterterrorism measures at borders include screening with advanced technology x-ray machines. U.S. and South African agencies shared best practices to enhance risk management efforts and better identify challenges at their borders.
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, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), is a member of the Egmont Group. The FIC Act Amendment Bill, 2015, proposed amendments to the act governing the FIC’s responsibilities that address “threats to the stability of South Africa’s financial system posed by money laundering and terrorism financing.” Among the amendments, the bill assigns responsibility to the FIC to freeze the assets of persons on UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions lists. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: South African efforts to counter violent extremism have not been publicly released.
International and Regional Cooperation: South Africa is a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the AU.
Overview: In 2015, Tanzania’s security services were involved in investigations and active operations against alleged violent extremists who conducted numerous attacks on police and police installations. Security services made multiple arrests of alleged violent extremists and officials were prosecuting these cases at year’s end. Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) reported concerns over escalating radicalism and inadequate border security. While Tanzanian government officials have expressed support for the efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Tanzania is not a coalition partner.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: In July, an al-Shabaab attack on the Stakishari police station near the Dar es Salaam airport resulted in the deaths of seven people. Press reports indicated that four police officers, two civilians, and one attacker were killed. The assailants stole a number of weapons from the police station during the attack.
In several other instances, police on patrol and police stations have been attacked. During these incidents, attackers stole weapons from police stations and injured or killed police officers.
Several IEDs were found in Zanzibar after the October 25 elections. No serious injuries were reported, and authorities were able to conduct a controlled detonation on two of the devices. The explosives were not publicly linked to any specific group, although the motivation was widely believed to be political.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Tanzania’s counterterrorism legal framework is governed by the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002. The implementing regulations for the Act were published in 2012. The only major effort to strengthen criminal justice institutions undertaken in 2015 was the National Counterterrorism Strategy process, which remained under discussion at year’s end.
Tanzanian officials continued interagency coordination efforts in 2015, and the government sought to use investigative forensic techniques to detect, investigate, and fully prosecute suspected terrorists. NCTC is an interagency unit composed of officers from the Intelligence, Police, Defense, Immigration, and Prison sectors who worked collectively on counterterrorism issues. The organization lacks specialized equipment and basic infrastructure, especially for border security, and NCTC officers need training on intelligence analysis and crime scene investigation. The Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service worked in conjunction with the police and other security services on investigations. Once an investigation is completed, the case goes to the Director of Public Prosecutions before being brought to court. Government agencies have demonstrated an ability to coordinate in a crisis, but lack the ability to implement a comprehensive plan of action on counterterrorism that formalizes interagency cooperation.
Tanzanian law enforcement officials participated in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program to strengthen capacity in the areas of crisis response, border operations, and counterterrorism investigations. Notable among these activities was the Department of State’s second-annual East Africa Joint Operations Capstone exercise, a month-long training series hosted in Kenya for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan law enforcement personnel. The exercise culminated in a large-scale simulation of a response to a terrorist incident, including a cross-border pursuit that also focused on community engagement and human rights-related issues.
Border security in Tanzania remained a challenge for a variety of reasons, including problems of corruption; the lack of a dedicated border security unit in the Tanzania Police Force; and vast, porous borders. All major airports and border crossings used the PISCES border management system. Tanzania’s NCTC and Immigration Service generally worked to ensure that all border posts had updated terrorist watchlists, although smaller border posts often must check passports against paper copies of the list. There were several media reports of Tanzanians engaging in violence as foreign terrorist fighters, particularly with regard to al-Shaabab operations in Kenya and Somalia. Tanzanian authorities liaised with Kenyan counterparts to share information and discussed how to more effectively counter violent extremist recruitment efforts and track returned foreign terrorist fighters.
In February, police and military units worked collaboratively to corner suspects of a police attack near the town of Tanga, which is located close to the Kenyan border. Security services engaged in a days-long siege, but some suspects eventually escaped.
Tanzania was constrained from greater action on counterterrorism efforts by a lack of financial resources, capacity, and interagency cooperation, as well as having no national counterterrorism strategy.
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. Its financial intelligence unit is a member of the Egmont Group. There were no known prosecutions or asset freezes related to counterterrorism finance in 2015. Tanzania continued to work in accordance with the 2014 implementing regulations that assigned specific responsibilities to various government entities to implement the UN 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The current focal point of NCTC’s countering violent extremism strategy is its community policing program. Through this initiative, which has been active in many perceived radicalization hot spots for several years, officials believe they are building better relations with key communities and have been better able to detect threats tied to radicalization. In addition, police enforced laws against spreading messages advocating violence by confiscating cassettes containing violent extremist messaging that are sold on the streets. NCTC would also like to implement community awareness programs with a counter-radicalization focus, but it lacked the funds to develop such an initiative.
Tanzania’s nascent efforts at counter-messaging included outreach to religious leaders to encourage moderate voices and to discourage guest preachers who might seek to spread extremist ideologies in houses of worship. Some sectors of the government have discussed the need for a counterterrorism public relations campaign, although such an effort was not funded or implemented in 2015.
International and Regional Cooperation: Tanzania is a member of the AU, the Southern African Development Community, and the East African Community, all of which implemented counterterrorism initiatives. In addition, Tanzania participated in counterterrorism training programs sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development even although Tanzania is not a full member of the group. Tanzania is an active member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and participated in the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Tanzania’s NCTC coordinated with partner organizations although the East African Police Chiefs’ Organization and the Southern African Police Chiefs’ Organization. Police officials also worked closely with INTERPOL. Tanzania had close relations with police and counterterrorism officials in Kenya and Uganda, although they would benefit from better mechanisms to share information electronically.
Overview: In 2015, the Government of Uganda continued to be a strong advocate of cross-border solutions to regional security issues, effectively supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and showed strong political will to apprehend suspected terrorists and disrupt terrorist activity in its territory. Al-Shabaab continued to put pressure on Uganda’s security apparatus, however, primarily due to Uganda’s troop contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Uganda’s ability to respond to such threats was inconsistent, given its resource and capacity limitations, porous borders, and corruption at all levels of government.
2015 Terrorist Incidents: On March 30, Joan Kagezi, Assistant Director of Public Prosecution and Head of the International Criminal Division in Uganda's Ministry of Justice, was shot and killed while shopping at a local market. Kagezi was prosecuting individuals associated with the Lord’s Resistance Army as well as suspects in the 2010 World Cup terrorist bombings in Kampala that killed 76 people, including one American. The Government of Uganda officially labeled this a “terrorist-affiliated assassination act.” At year’s end, no one had been charged with Kagezi's murder.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Uganda’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, which has been Uganda's primary legal framework for deterring, detecting, and prosecuting terrorist activity and incidents, was revised in June. Parliament adopted the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to expand the list of terrorist acts to include indirect involvement in terrorist activities as well as: electronic attacks, acts against national security or public safety, acts of terrorism committed in a foreign state, and unlawful possession of materials promoting terrorism. At the end of 2015, the Ugandan government intended to further amend the act.
The Uganda Police Force (UPF) Directorate of Counterterrorism 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 were highly motivated, the UPF overall was limited in its capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents due to the lack of manpower, resources, basic skills, and competencies. Further hindering the UPF’s ability to combat terrorism, Ugandan police officers in general were particularly susceptible to corruption due to the generally low level of pay and late disbursement of salary payments.
In the wake of increased terrorist activity and violent crime in the East Africa region, the UPF established an interagency unit to better coordinate counterterrorism efforts across Ugandan security agencies.
The bulk of the counterterrorism police and other law enforcement elements was centrally located in the capital, which limited the effectiveness of law enforcement in the border regions and other areas outside Kampala. The UPF lacked the technological resources needed to conduct comprehensive terrorism investigations in the most effective manner, although the UPF held regular interagency meetings in an attempt to ensure coordination among its security and intelligence agencies.
The United States continued to provide significant counterterrorism training assistance to the UPF, specifically through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, which builds capacity in the areas of counterterrorism investigations, crisis response, and border security. Border security remained a persistent concern for the Ugandan government, which continued work to expand its enforcement and monitoring capacity. Notable among these activities in 2015 was the Department of State’s second-annual East Africa Joint Operations capstone exercise, a month-long training series hosted in Kenya for Kenyan, Ugandan, and Tanzanian law enforcement personnel; the exercise culminated in a large-scale simulation of a response to a terrorist incident, including a cross-border pursuit, that also focused on community engagement and human rights-related issues. Uganda relied on the Terrorist Interdiction Program’s Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to conduct traveler screening and watchlisting, incorporating biographic and biometric screening at the country’s major points of entry.
The UPF cooperated with the United States on terrorism-related cases, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintained strong relationships with the UPF. Uganda was prosecuting the 12 individuals arrested for orchestrating the July 2010 al-Shabaab bombings following the World Cup, and was working closely with the FBI since one of the victims of those attacks was an U.S. citizen. The FBI continued to work with the Ugandan government on other terrorism investigations.
The United States and UPF continued to try to operationalize a 2013 Memorandum of Cooperation to modernize the UPF’s criminal records management system to replace the outdated system used to identify criminal and terrorist suspects.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Uganda is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In 2015, Uganda was under review by the FATF itself, due to a number of strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. In July, Uganda made further progress toward implementing the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2013 when the finance minister constituted a five-member board of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), which under the AMLA is responsible for monitoring and regulating remittance services and wire transfer data. However, at year’s end the FIA has not become fully functional due to a lack of staffing and funding from the central government.
A significant portion of financial transactions in Uganda takes place in the form of “mobile money” payments and transfers, which could be abused by individuals and entities engaged in money laundering, terrorism financing, or other forms of financial crime. At the same time, money transfers and payments through mobile phones are a key provider of basic financial services for low-income earners who cannot afford the charges levied by banks. While the AMLA requires financial institutions to conduct comprehensive customer due diligence, it does not put the same requirements on mobile money transfers.
Uganda has made some progress toward, but still falls short of, meeting its international obligation to criminalize terrorism financing and it continues to have significant deficiencies with respect to its procedures for implementing targeted financial sanctions. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Bank of Uganda, the government routinely distributes UN lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities to financial institutions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2014/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Uganda recognizes the importance of countering violent extremism (CVE) and has shown interest in partnering with the U.S. government and Ugandan Muslim leaders to conduct more systematic and targeted outreach to counter violent extremism. These efforts included the Ugandan government’s attendance at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism convened in Washington, DC, in February 2015, and follow-on regional meetings. Local NGOs were involved in counter-messaging focused on the Muslim community. While the government recognized the need for CVE programs, the success of its efforts has generally been hindered by the lack of a clearly defined programmatic response and an unorganized methodology for assigning Ugandan government offices and personnel to address CVE issues.
International and Regional Cooperation: Uganda is a strong force for regional stability, security coordination, and counterterrorism efforts, and is an active member of the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community, the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Uganda contributed troops to AMISOM to stabilize Somalia and counter al-Shabaab. In July, Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia to strengthen defense ties. The agreement focuses on the security situation in South Sudan and Somalia and terrorism in the region.