Chapter 2. Country Reports: Africa
Overview: Africa experienced significant levels of terrorist activity in 2016. In East Africa, the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab remained the most potent threat to regional stability, having regained territory in parts of southern and central Somalia. As the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) limited offensive operation to proactively counter al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, the terrorist group gained the time and space needed to regroup and recruit new fighters. Similar to 2015, however, there were no successful attacks attributed to al-Shabaab outside of Somalia and northeastern Kenya. The organization maintained its allegiance to al-Qa’ida and continued its campaign to isolate and defeat the growing faction of ISIS supporters in Somalia. Although ISIS claimed responsibility for small-scale attacks in Somalia and Kenya, the group failed to launch a major attack in East Africa.
Al-Shabaab used safe havens and towns it reclaimed in 2016 to refine its asymmetric tactics. The group continued to focus on targeting AMISOM forces by launching large-scale raids against its forward operating bases. In January, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a raid against Kenyan forces in El Adde, Somalia that was reported to have killed more than 140 soldiers. In its attempt to disrupt the Federal Government of Somalia’s national electoral process, al-Shabaab increased the use of suicide bombings and ambush attacks against Somali government facilities and select hotels popular with government officials and business people. Al-Shabaab also launched vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) against the Mogadishu International Airport that killed UN, AMISOM, and Somali officials.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the targeted assassination of several Somali parliamentarians, security officials, and other government personnel in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia, including Puntland.
The United States continued to support counterterrorism capacity building for its East African partners, including advisory assistance for AMISOM, training and mentoring the staff of Somalia’s security sector, and improving regional law enforcement agencies’ crisis response capabilities. In response to al-Shabaab’s mass-casualty attacks in Kenya’s Northeast that claimed hundreds of lives over the last few years, Kenya increased its law enforcement and military presence along the border to detect, deter, and disrupt terrorist travel and cross-border activity. East African governments leveraged U.S. assistance to improve counterterrorism-focused investigations and prosecutions, particularly in Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda.
In the Lake Chad Basin, the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), comprising Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, successfully coordinated defeat-ISIS-West Africa and counter-Boko Haram efforts that increased pressure on the groups. Although degraded, Boko Haram continued an asymmetric campaign of kidnappings, killings, bombings, suicide bombers, and attacks on civilian and military targets throughout northeast Nigeria, resulting in a significant number of deaths, injuries, and destruction of property. ISIS-West Africa consolidated its presence in the Lake Chad area following its August split from Boko Haram and targeted primarily vulnerable regional military and government targets.
France’s Operation Barkhane, a counterterrorism operation focused on countering terrorists operating in the Sahel, continued and was supported by the important contributions of the UN Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
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:
- Enabling and enhancing the capacity of North and West African militaries and law enforcement to conduct counterterrorism operations;
- Integrating the ability of North and West African militaries and law enforcement, and other supporting partners, to operate regionally and collaboratively on counterterrorism efforts;
- Enhancing border security capacity to monitor, restrain, and interdict terrorist movements;
- Strengthening the rule of law, including access to justice, and law enforcement’s ability to detect, disrupt, respond to, investigate, and prosecute terrorist activity;
- Monitoring and countering the financing of terrorism (such as that related to kidnapping for ransom); and
- Countering local support 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 the 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 African Union and by the country of Benin, which is not a member of the TSCTP. In North Africa, U.S. and Moroccan training for Senegalese law enforcement has improved crisis response management, while Algeria has offered counter-improvised explosive device (IED) training to neighboring states.
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:
- Reducing the operational capacity of terrorist networks;
- Developing a rule of law framework for countering terrorism in partner nations;
- Enhancing border security;
- Countering the financing of terrorism; and
- 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 inactive members of PREACT and did not receive PREACT assistance in 2016.
In 2016, 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 and promoting stability and governance in Somalia and the greater East Africa region with an emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law. PREACT additionally serves as a broader U.S. government interagency mechanism to coordinate counterterrorism and countering violent extremism programming to address gaps in criminal justice, defense, and financial sector reform. 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 responsibly and effectively.
Overview: Following historic national elections that brought President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to power in late 2015, Burkina Faso’s new government took office January 13, 2016. Just days later, a soft target terrorist attack on a café and hotel occurred in Ouagadougou, revealing shortcomings in the government’s crisis response plans. The past year has seen a significant uptick in terrorist activity, including numerous cross-border attacks, although it was not always clear which terrorist organization was responsible. Many of these incidents remained under investigation, with no prosecutions before the end of 2016.
Events of the past two years, including the extra-constitutional step taken by the former Presidential Security Regiment to hold the then-transitional government hostage, in addition to the increase in violent attacks, have continued to demonstrate the need for broad security sector reform. Recommendations from a security sector reform commission established in December 2015 were never made public, and, in the past year, the country has not seen significant changes either in the structure or leadership of any of its security services. Further, the Burkinabe government appears to have largely rejected recommendations made in a UN evaluation of security sector reform priorities.
Burkina Faso’s overall willingness to engage in regional counterterrorism and stability operations was made possible primarily as a result of approximately US $30 million over the past four years that was provided to its security forces through the Department of State’s Africa Peacekeeping Program (AFRICAP) II, Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance contracts, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), and National Defense Authorization Act Section 2282 funding initiatives.
Attacks on security forces and a kidnapping in 2016, combined with attacks in neighboring countries, have bred a sense of insecurity and fear amongst the population. In response to this insecurity, the Burkinabe military has taken steps to address the need for increased coordination and communication between members of the Burkinabe armed forces and its citizens. In the summer of 2016, for example, the armed forces partnered with the United States to host a security symposium with community members and civil society from the affected regions.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Burkina Faso suffered its most deadly year related to terrorist incidents in 2016. Incidents included:
- On January 15, there was an attack on Café Cappuccino and Hotel Splendid in Ouagadougou; 30 were killed and 70 wounded.
- On January 16, a Western couple was kidnapped in Djibo.
- There were also several cross-border attacks on security forces. These included Tin Akoff (January 15, two deaths), Koutougou (May 18, two wounded), Intangom (May 31, three deaths), Markoye (September 1, two deaths, three wounded), Intangom (October 12, four deaths, two wounded), and Nassoumba (December 16, 12 deaths, four wounded).
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Burkina Faso’s Counterterrorism Strategy, Mission de Securitization du Nord, strives to address terrorist activities along its northern border. To accomplish this, in January 2013, Burkina Faso operationalized and deployed a joint Army-Gendarmerie counterterrorism task force known as the Groupement des Forces Anti-Terroristes (GFAT). Attributable to multiple peacekeeping operation deployments, this force, which originally had projected end strength of 1,000, has consistently been at a level of approximately 500 troops. Burkina Faso augmented the GFAT with additional troops after the October 12 attack in Intangom.
In addition to the ongoing Mission de Securitization du Nord, the Burkinabe military plans to counter terrorist activity more effectively by building a more capable Army unit in its northern 1st Military Region. Consistent with the country’s low national Gross Domestic Product, however, the military lacks funding. Building a capable force will require international assistance.
Burkina Faso’s legal system struggles with a lack of resources and coordination to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. In November, the Burkina Faso Council of Ministers passed a draft law on the establishment, organization, and functioning of a judicial process specializing in counterterrorism. Burkinabe security and law enforcement officials continued to cite border security as a major area of concern. Burkina Faso continued to screen travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).
Host government security forces actively sought training from the United States and other countries, occasionally receiving refresher training from multiple sources on the same topic. U.S. assistance included workshops on cross-border security, crisis management, criminal justice procedures, and training on the prosecution of terrorists through the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Burkina Faso is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style body that is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In 2016, Burkina Faso enacted the uniform West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism law, and also passed 11 other laws to improve its framework. As of 2016, however, Burkina Faso continued to experience challenges operationalizing the mechanisms of its National Committee on Administrative Freezing, which has not yet achieved functionality; implementing UN Security Council resolution 1373. Its financial intelligence unit (FIU), Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières (CENTIF), comprises magistrates, police, gendarmerie, and financial experts under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
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 has the will to improve its ability to counter terrorist financing, it lacked the necessary resources and experience. Burkina Faso worked on developing a special court for terrorist financing, and in recent years it has placed CENTIF under the Ministry of Economy and Finance. There are some laws in place that help the work of CENTIF, such as a requirement for local banks to report large deposits. Other laws and customs make their task difficult. 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.
Burkina Faso therefore remains at risk of money laundering and terrorist financing and faces threats emanating from criminal activities and insecurity in the Sahel region. Its capacity to respond to these threats remained insufficient, although the Government of Burkina Faso continued to cooperate with regional and global counterterrorism efforts. Records exchange with countries outside of WAEMU is possible via bilateral agreement, and CENTIF was open to exchanging information with counterpart FIUs on a reciprocal basis, which it has done in several cases. Burkina Faso has not incorporated the WAEMU directives on money laundering and terrorist financing into its national law, however. Additionally, it has yet to fully demonstrate the effectiveness of its terrorist assets freezing regime, has not adopted procedures for the declaration of cross border currency movement, and is slow to move prosecutions of financial crimes through its court system.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 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: Burkina Faso did not have programs to rehabilitate or reintegrate terrorists into mainstream society in 2016. Three TSCTP grants were provided to build community resilience. One grant fielded seven volunteers in the Sahel region to work with community members to raise awareness about violent extremism and engage youth in activities to strengthen a community identity. The second was to build awareness and create a “see something say something” network. The third funded regional filmmakers with short productions that will be viewed in rural communities as part of a film caravan.
Regional and International Cooperation: Burkina Faso increased its collaboration with the United Nations on counterterrorism matters and participated in international fora, such as the GCTF’s Sahel Working Group. Burkina Faso was a member of the TSCTP, was active in ECOWAS, and is a member of the G-5 Sahel group (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) that was created in February 2014.
Overview: Burundi continued its commitment to addressing terrorism through maintaining a six battalion contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Burundi’s land and water borders are porous and, therefore, pose 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 years to life imprisonment if the act results in the death of a person. The Judicial Police are responsible for terrorism investigations. A small counterterrorism unit, formed in 2010, consists of elements of the Burundi National Police, the Burundian National Defense Force, and the Burundi National Intelligence Service. The unit lacks significant capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist acts. Burundi’s judicial system was characterized by a dearth of professional personnel and resources, incompetence, corruption, and a significant backlog of cases.
Burundi screens travel documents at official border crossings; however, it does not use biometric screening capabilities, such as fingerprint or retinal scans.
Deterrents to more effective law enforcement and border security included corruption, resource constraints, limited judicial capacity, lack of training, and heavily trafficked, difficult to control borders.
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 or provide training on the new laws. Therefore, implementation was inconsistent. There were no terrorist finance cases in 2016.
Burundi’s anti-money laundering/counterterrorist 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. Know Your Customer practices are implemented regularly in the formal financial sector, but 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.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm. (Burundi has not been included in the INCSR since the 2014 edition.)
International and Regional Cooperation: Burundi is an inactive member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. Burundi contributed six battalions to AMISOM.
Overview: Countering terrorist threats, particularly Boko Haram (BH), remained a top security priority for the Government of Cameroon, and the government continued to work with the United States to improve the capacity of its security forces. Cameroon has contributed significantly to the growth and evolution of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Boko Haram continued to take advantage of weaknesses in Cameroon’s border security to conduct a number of terrorist attacks in the country’s Far North Region, including targeted killings and kidnappings of Cameroonians, and raids on villages, fields, and livestock. A representative sampling of incidents over a two-month period follows:
- On March 16, a villager was killed in Nigue, Fotokol, during a BH incursion.
- On March 24, BH entered the village of Zourou and killed the village chief.
- On March 25, a security force vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED) on the Amchide Ganse road. One soldier was wounded and one died.
- On April 1, 12 BH members armed with assault rifles took over the village of Tolkomari at 11:00 p.m. and began searching houses for Vigilance Committee (VC) members. They found and killed one VC member.
- On April 3, five villagers were beheaded in Sandawadjiri during a BH attack.
- On April 8, BH assailants attacked a security force outpost in Tolkomari, but were repelled.
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. These include sanctions for efforts to undermine state authority, threats to public and individual safety, destruction of property, threats to the safety of civil aviation and maritime navigation, hostage taking, and the use of firearms and explosive substances.
The Law for the Fight Against Terrorism, adopted in 2014, 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 of the country.
Faced with BH’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 General Delegation for External Research, the National Army, the Rapid Intervention Unit, and the National Gendarmerie.
In 2016, 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 and the legal aspects of defense. The United States sent military personnel to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations as part of the fight against BH. These measures supported improvements in Cameroon’s ability to detect and respond to BH in general and terrorist attacks specifically.
Cameroonian forces have become decisively more effective at combatting BH and have seen significant battlefield successes. Combined security forces, including civilian vigilance committees, blunted the sustained suicide bombing campaign that BH began in 2015, although occasional bombing incidents occurred. Security forces have secured some areas of the Far North Region to the extent that a limited number of internally displaced persons are returning to their places of origin. Despite progress, BH still conducts sometimes weekly attacks on villages, primarily in search of supplies.
In 2016, Cameroon installed a U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) biometric screening system to cover all entering and departing travels at the international airports in Yaounde and Douala. 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 Rapid Intervention Battalion, to the Far North Region of the country. Out of concern for instability and the security vacuum along its eastern border created by the redeployment of troops to the northern front, Cameroon recruited new border security personnel and deployed them along the border with the Central African Republic. The government significantly improved screening procedures at maritime ports and saw a corresponding increase in arrests of criminals and seizure of illicit goods. 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.
Cameroonian security forces continued to receive training via the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance and Counterterrorism Partnership Fund programs. Trainings included courses on community policing, intelligence-led policing, countering IEDs, and crime scene investigation.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cameroon is a member of the Central African Action Group Against Money Laundering (GABAC), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Through its membership in GABAC, Cameroon has adopted a legislative architecture to implement anti-money laundering and financial supervision actions. Although the government has no existing legislation or procedures to domestically designate terrorists, Cameroonian law allows for the automatic adoption of relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, including the UNSC ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. Cameroon’s financial intelligence unit, the National Financial Investigation Agency, processes suspicious transaction reports, initiates investigations, and is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. There were no reports, however, of prosecutions or convictions for money laundering in 2016. Under existing 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 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Cameroon does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan, as recommended by the UN Secretary-General’s Preventing Violent Extremism Plan of Action, but officials at all levels acknowledge radicalization to violence as a significant concern and potential threat and say they integrate CVE concepts into their work and planning. Officials from a variety of agencies and ministries have attended U.S.-funded CVE training, and the government has requested additional training. 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 of radicalization to violence and violent extremism and to promote religious tolerance and present religion as a factor for peace. This objective was furthered through targeted messaging in mosques, special prayer sessions, and press releases, as well as 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.
Government officials and other interlocutors point to historically poor or limited governance in the Far North region, deteriorating infrastructure, and perceptions of limited or decreasing opportunity as key drivers of violent extremism. Cameroon has a tradition of coexistence, although there are some sectarian tensions. Resource pressures in the Far North arising from large numbers of internally displaced peoples moving into areas with already limited resources, closure of cattle markets as a result of fighting, and restriction of traditional trade routes is placing increasing pressure on communities, leading to some fracturing of traditional bonds of tolerance and coexistence.
International and Regional Cooperation: Cameroon is a contributing and active member of the Lake Chad Basin’s MNJTF, and it contributes forces to this effort. A Cameroonian general commands the MNJTF’s sector one, and Cameroonian security forces are active participants in unilateral internal and regional joint combat operations against BH and ISIS. Cameroon is active in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership.
Cameroon actively participates in African Union and United Nations counterterrorism-related activities, and its military schools train soldiers and gendarmes from neighboring countries.
Overview: The Government of Chad continued to prioritize counterterrorism efforts at the highest level; however, the worsening financial crisis affected its ability to meet even basic financial commitments, such as paying police and military salaries. Although financial hardships have limited the country’s ability to provide external counterterrorism assistance in Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, Chad engaged in major external military operations in 2016 in neighboring countries. Chad continued to provide combat forces to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which also includes Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. This follows Chad’s contribution in 2013 to Operation Sabre, French intervention in northern Mali, and its ongoing contribution to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Attacks in Chad by Boko Haram (BH) fell in 2016 from 2015, likely due to an increased and proactive security force presence by the Government of Chad and the MNJTF, community support for Chadian forces, and a split within BH.
In 2016, there were four reports of terrorist attacks resulting in casualties, all within Chad’s Lake Region. These attacks consisted of two personnel-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting civilian populations in January that resulted in three people killed and 56 injured in the towns of Guite and Miterine; one road-based IED (target unknown); and minor conflicts between military and BH elements in August and September.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Chad passed counterterrorism legislation on August 5, 2015, although it was unclear if anyone had been prosecuted under this law. Law 034/PR/2015 explicitly criminalizes terrorism and provides penalties for those convicted of terrorist acts. It imposes the death penalty on any person who commits, finances, recruits, 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. Some civil society organizations expressed concern that the law was overly restrictive, required little evidence to prosecute individuals, and could be used to curtail freedoms of expression and association. The Government of Chad faced a significant backlog of terrorism cases pending in the judicial process, which has led to more-than-usual overcrowding of prisons.
While Chadian law enforcement units displayed basic command and control capacity, the Director General of the Chadian National Police requested more training in investigations, crisis response, and border security capacity. All 22 police brigades perform counterterrorism functions. Law enforcement leadership professed publicly the requirement for all law enforcement officers to respect human rights. In practice, however, there were reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, including by torture, and impunity was an issue. The Director General of the police has worked to improve the Chadian National Police, including through information sharing across other governmental security agencies.
The Government of Chad continued to operate at a heightened level of security and has instituted screenings at border-crossings to prevent infiltration by members of BH and Central African militias, as well as transit of illegal arms, drugs, and other contraband. Border patrol continued to be provided by a combination of border security officials, gendarmes, police, and military. Chad continued to screen travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) at major ports of entry.
Chad continued its participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. In 2016, several hundred additional police officers attended ATA training in both Chad and the United States, and received additional equipment specifically designated for counterterrorism units within the Chadian National Police.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Chad is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa, 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 of Financial Intelligence Units.
Chad criminalized terrorist financing through the 2003 adoption of an anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing (AML/CFT) law drafted by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa. The law allows immediate freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets and requires a variety of organizations involved in financial transactions to monitor money/value transfers and report any anomalies (the law does not appear to list non-profit organizations specifically within the list of organizations required to comply). It provides for compilation, updating, and distribution of United Nations sanctions lists, but does not stipulate a timeframe for their designation. The government also requires Know Your Customer rules for both foreign and domestic transactions.
ANIF, which falls under the authority of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, is tasked with ensuring public and private financial institutions in Chad implement the AML/CFT law. It investigates suspicious transactions brought to its attention by financial institutions and refers cases to the Attorney General’s office in the Ministry of Justice and Guardian of the Seal and Human Rights for further action and prosecution. ANIF works closely with the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration, the Antiterrorist Unit of the National Police, the National Police, the Directorate of Customs and Excise, and the Central Bank.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 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: Although the Government of Chad does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan, it remained concerned about the threat of violent extremism within its borders. The government consistently identified the primary driver of violent extremism as lack of economic opportunity, which is exploited by violent extremists who target vulnerable populations. The Chadian government also remained particularly concerned about the influence of Salafist imams and theologies, as well as funding from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern charities and states. In the past, the government has revoked the legal charters of what it identified as Salafist-leaning associations and religious organizations.
The number of Chadians joining terrorist organizations was low in 2016. Chadians who joined BH or ISIS-West Africa appeared to come mostly from the Boudouma ethnic group in the North of Lake Chad. Therefore, it seems familial or economic ties to current members of the groups provided the strongest incentive to join the group. Separately, there was evidence of a few individuals self-radicalizing through social media and propaganda, most recently with an individual apprehended in December.
The Chadian government created an Office of Religious and Traditional Leaders, within the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Governance, to spearhead its CVE efforts, but this office remained new and skeletal and has not demonstrated strong leadership on any matters. The Government of Chad continued to use its five-year development strategy as its primary tool to prevent and counter violent extremism. Of particular relevance for the Government of Chad is a focus on education, vocational training, and job placement, which it believes are key tools to address violent extremism. Alongside its five-year development strategy, it also has a National Strategy for Social Protection, which is a pillar of its non-military efforts to counter violent extremism.
Auspiciously, this year, more than 1,000 individuals previously associated with BH returned to Chad. Disillusionment with BH and unmet expectations of how their lives would change were suspected reasons.
Efforts to encourage defections and returnees among the Bouduma people around the lake were mostly informal. At year’s end, no known national strategic messaging or alternative narrative strategy was in place. Moderate messaging was broadcast over 16 community radio stations and one state-operated radio station under a U.S. Agency for International Development project to counter violent extremism. The project also funded the creation of a moderate, Arabic-language newspaper to provide an outlet for expression among Muslim youth.
International and Regional Cooperation: Chad chaired the African Union and held the G-5 Sahel presidency in 2016. Chad remained active in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and was a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission; it participated in the Commission’s effort to develop the MNJTF and deployed a contingent of 700 troops along the Lake Chad border to prevent infiltration by BH. Chad has also cooperated actively with Cameroon and Nigeria in operations to counter the threat of BH in its border regions, and continued to work with Sudan on the joint border commission the two countries established in 2012 to better control the Chad‑Sudan eastern border.
Chad continued to host the French government’s Operation Barkhane, a successor to Operations Serval and Epervier, formerly based in Mali and Chad, respectively. In November, Chad and Algeria signed a memorandum to strengthen cooperation in security areas.
Overview: Djibouti offered an important platform for regional counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts in 2016. Djibouti continued to contribute troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and its military (Forces Armees Djiboutiennes, or the FAD) and received U.S. assistance to train and prepare for this mission from the Global Peace Operations Initiative through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program. Djiboutian Brigadier General Osman Noor Soubagleh assumed command of AMISOM in July. Djibouti is home to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa that includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes.
Camp Lemonnier served as headquarters to the U.S. Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and is the only enduring U.S. military installation in Africa. Djibouti’s relations with Eritrea, its neighbor to the north, remained hostile after a 2008 border conflict in which dozens of Djiboutian soldiers lost their lives. To the south, Somalia’s struggle with al-Shabaab continued to pose a threat Djibouti’s security. The Somalia-based al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the May 2014 suicide attack against a popular restaurant in Djibouti City. As a result, enhanced security measures in Djibouti City remained in place throughout 2016.
Djibouti’s proximity to important waterways, such as the Bab al-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden, make the country a prime destination and transit point for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers fleeing ongoing conflicts in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen. This influx of people taxed the government’s resources and revealed vulnerabilities in port and immigration security procedures. The United States supported Djibouti’s efforts to build counterterrorism capacities in the areas of border security, investigations, justice sector reform, and countering violent extremism.
Djibouti has publicly condemned violent ISIS acts, such as beheadings, as well as the group’s focus on recruiting vulnerable youth and its use of Islam to advance its goals. Djibouti works closely with regional neighbors in IGAD to build sustainable institutions to counter radicalization to violence and violent extremism. Recognized by IGAD as being a low threat for home-grown violent extremism, Djibouti is eager to play a leadership role for activities in this field.
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 the 2014 al-Shabaab attack in Djibouti City. Djibouti maintained a system of checkpoints and cordon-and-search operations within the capital city. Djibouti remained focused at border-control points to screen for potential security threats. The government maintained enhanced protection of soft targets, including hotels and grocery stores, which it first implemented after the 2014 attack. Djibouti law enforcement extended vehicle searches throughout the city in an effort coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Djiboutian law enforcement personnel acknowledged the difficulty of securing their land borders, as well as the sea coast. The Djiboutian National Police (DNP) controls border checkpoints and the FAD has responsibility for patrolling land borders in remote locations, with support from the Gendarme patrolling between border posts. Djibouti continued to process travelers on entry and departure with the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). While the airport and seaport in the capital remain 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, which was refurbished with U.S. funding and receives technical assistance through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program.
Djibouti has a legal framework for investigating and prosecuting terrorism-related crimes and bringing terrorism cases to its criminal courts using its penal code. Djibouti’s law enforcement organizations routinely interacted with U.S. government counterparts and frequently sought U.S. input to identify potential terrorist suspects. Djibouti’s law enforcement organizations include the DNP, the Djiboutian National Gendarmerie, the National Security Judiciary Police (NSJP), and the Djiboutian Coast Guard. Through the Departments of State, Justice, and Defense, the United States provided Djibouti with substantial security assistance and counterterrorism-related training to build critical capacities within its security and law enforcement sectors. In 2016, the DNP, the National Gendarmerie, and the NSJP received training through the ATA program, as well as the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone. ATA assistance focused primarily on building technical capacity for improved crisis response, counterterrorism investigations, and border security capabilities. The DNP, the National Gendarmerie, and the NSJP also received training through the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Legal Attaché office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The United States funds a Resident Legal Advisor based in Addis Ababa who also assists Djiboutian justice sector officials in counterterrorism rule of law issues. Separately, CJTF-HOA provided the FAD with two counter-improvised explosive devices (IED) pre-deployment training programs on how to recognize, find, counter, or avoid an IED for Djiboutian military personnel deploying to Somalia under AMISOM.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Djibouti is not a member or an observer 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 focused on banking supervision. The FIU made no referrals of cases to law enforcement involving suspected terrorist financing in 2016.
The Central Bank of Djibouti 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 European Union and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Central Bank of Djibouti monitors compliance with these lists through routine supervision and audits of the financial institutions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 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: Djibouti is recognized by IGAD as being a low threat for home-grown violent extremism; IGAD assessed Djibouti’s internal terrorism threat as “symptomatic,” requiring preventative countering violent extremism interventions. Djibouti is eager to become a regional hub for activities in this field and is host to the new IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which held its inaugural meeting in October. Djibouti assigned an advisor from the Office of the President in November to IGAD to serve as the Center’s Deputy Director.
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 partners, such as Egypt, have offered to train Djiboutian imams at the al-Azhar Institute.
International and Regional Cooperation: Djibouti is a member of the African Union, has maintained military forces deployed in Somalia, and has provided the commander of AMISOM since July 2016. Djibouti is also a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. In April, Djibouti hosted the fifth plenary meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum Horn of Africa (HOA) Working Group and the Symposium on Youth and CVE. Co-chaired by the European Union and Turkey, these meetings focused on efforts to strengthen the resilience of youth in the greater HOA region and on the 2016-2017 work plan of the HOA Working Group. In September, the Djiboutian government hosted the IGAD Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the development of the East Africa Region’s Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Strategy at the MFA’s Institute of Diplomatic Studies.
Overview: The Government of Eritrea continued to make regular public statements about its commitment to fighting terrorism. Eritrea also continued and broadened its support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen; it allowed military elements of the coalition to base in Eritrea.
In May 2016, 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 counter 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 (UNSC) resolution 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.” While the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group’s (SEMG’s) 2016 report found no evidence that Eritrea is supporting al-Shabaab, the SEMG found that it could not make a determination that Eritrea is in compliance with the requirements of the UNSC resolutions because the Government of Eritrea continued to refuse to allow SEMG inspectors to enter Eritrea.
The Government of Eritrea’s lack of transparency means there was no clear picture of the methods it used 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 United States had informal contact with some law enforcement counterparts in 2016.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Eritrea’s penal code, grandfathered into its present-day law from Ethiopia’s 1957 code, contains a number of statutes that can be used to prosecute various types of terrorist activity, including conspiracies carried out by organized armed groups and the use of bombs, dynamite, explosives, or other methods constituting a public danger. Other sections of Eritrean law are sufficiently broad to apply to terrorism cases, including acts related to offenses against public safety, property, and the state and its national interests.
The Government of Eritrea does not share information about its ports of entry, law enforcement actions, and arrests or disruptions of terrorist’s activities or prosecutions. Entities including the Eritrean Defense Forces, 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 violent 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 lacked the training and technology to recognize fraudulent documents.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Eritrea is not a member or observer of a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Assessing terrorist financing risks in the country is challenging due to Eritrea’s general lack of transparency on banking, financial, and economic matters. The lack of basic banking infrastructure, such as credit cards and online banking technology, and the fact that the Eritrean currency is nonconvertible, limit Eritrea’s ability to engage in international financial markets. There is no available information to indicate that Eritrea has identified any terrorist assets or prosecuted any terrorist financing cases.
Countering Violent Extremism: In official meetings and in its public statements, Eritrean officials cited their record in opposing violent extremism and stated their commitment to fighting it in the future. It is unknown whether the Government of Eritrea has established a Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan. 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 African Union and an inactive member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. In 2016, Eritrea continued to increase 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 which had military conflicts and have ongoing border disputes with Eritrea.
Overview: The Government of Ethiopia’s 2016 counterterrorism efforts focused on fighting al‑Shabaab in Somalia and pursuing potential threats in Ethiopia. Ethiopia collaborated with the United States on regional security issues and participated in capacity-building trainings. The Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP) partnered in the investigation of an al-Shabaab 2014 suicide attack in Djibouti, agreed to join a Joint Task Force on a terrorism case, and continued law enforcement cooperation with the United States. The EFP also requested an expansion of an FBI‑EFP Memorandum of Understanding on information sharing on transnational crime and ISIS. In May, the Ethiopian government denounced ISIS’ branch in Libya in response to a video which showed the beheading of 16 Ethiopian migrants; it was the second time in two years Ethiopian migrants in Libya were killed by the group.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Ethiopia uses the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), implemented in 2009, to prosecute activities it considers terrorism. It also continued to use the ATP to suppress criticism by detaining and prosecuting journalists, opposition figures (including members of religious groups protesting government interference in religious affairs), and other activists, releasing some, but also making new arrests during the year. For example, the Federal High Court sentenced a blogger in May to more than five years in prison using the ATP. In addition, journalists feared reporting on five groups designated by parliament as terrorist organizations in 2011 (Patriotic Ginbot-7, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), al-Qa’ida, and al‑Shabaab), citing ambiguity on whether that might be punishable under the law.
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which has broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation, was responsible for overall counterterrorism management in coordination with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and the EFP. The ENDF, EFP, and Ethiopian intelligence comprise the Ethiopian Task Force for Counterterrorism, a federal-level committee to coordinate counterterrorism efforts. The ENDF, EFP, Ethiopian intelligence, and regional special police worked together to block al‑Shabaab attacks in Ethiopia. The NISS facilitated some coordination with the United States on counterterrorism cases in Ethiopia.
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 conducts traveler screening with the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) at major ports of entry. The EFP sent officers to several sessions of the Department of State-funded Regional Rural Border Patrol Unit training by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Manyani, Kenya.
Ethiopia was the only last point of departure airport from East Africa to the United States in 2016. Given the increased terrorism threat to the international aviation security sector, Ethiopian aviation security officials demonstrated a highly cooperative attitude and keen interest in keeping Ethiopia’s aviation sector secure from terrorist threats. Ethiopian aviation security continued to improve with the installation of two Department of State-funded, state-of-the-art passenger screening devices at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in February. Ethiopian security officials also expressed interest in additional training, which would be conducted in coordination with the U.S. government, to bolster counterterrorism security measures at Bole International Airport.
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. In August 2015, ESAAMLG adopted Ethiopia’s mutual evaluation report, outlining the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and deficiencies. Ethiopia’s Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) issued a directive that guides the reporting requirements and compliance of designated non-financial businesses and professions with regard to AML/CFT in April 2016. Ethiopia conducted its third and final workshop on the National Risk Assessment for money laundering and terrorist finance in December 2016.
Through its AML/CFT legislation, the Government of Ethiopia criminalizes terrorist financing in accordance with international standards, even in the absence of a specific terrorist act; requires the collection of Know Your Customer data for wire transfers; monitors and regulates designated non-financial businesses and professions; and subjects non-profit organizations and religious organizations that collect, receive, grant, or transfer funds as part of their activity to appropriate oversight by the FIC. Ethiopia froze the account of one business entity (amount unknown) under suspicion of having engaged in money laundering and terrorist financing. The FIC routinely distributes the updated UN lists of individuals and entities under CT resolutions to financial institutions electronically.
While the country’s AML/CFT legislation allows freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets without delay, it also authorizes the Council of Ministers to decide the conditions and time limits for the asset freeze, contradicting the principle that freezes pursuant to UN listings should be indefinite until delisting. Furthermore, weak institutional capacity and lack of technical expertise at the FIC, the Government of Ethiopia’s poor recordkeeping, and lack of centralized law enforcement records, hindered the ability to identify and investigate AML/CFT activities.
Countering Violent Extremism: Although the Government of Ethiopia does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan as recommended by the UN Secretary-General’s Preventing Violent Extremism Plan of Action, it has participated in and provided data to inform the development of a regional CVE strategy by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Ethiopian government 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 plans to support IGAD’s new Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Djibouti to discuss prevention and counter-messaging strategies.
Under the Charities and Societies Proclamation, the Government of Ethiopia continued to restrict funding to civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These funding restrictions limit NGO and civil society capacity to engage marginalized communities, conduct outreach through credible leaders, and implement CVE programming that targets at-risk youth.
International and Regional Cooperation: The Government of Ethiopia participated in African Union-led counterterrorism efforts as a troop-contributing country to the African Union Forces in Somalia. Ethiopia served as the chair of IGAD and participated in its counterterrorism programs and trainings, including the 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 and other regional security initiatives. In multilateral efforts against terrorism, 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.
Overview: Kenya is a strong counterterrorism partner of the United States throughout East Africa. Kenya faces 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 Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Kenya remained a target of al-Shabaab terrorist attacks, most of which occurred along the northern border region with Somalia. ISIS also claimed responsibility for at least one attack that occurred in Nairobi. Kenyan security services expanded efforts to counter terrorist threats to urban and rural areas in Kenya, some resulting in the reported arrests of suspected operatives associated with al-Shabaab and ISIS. 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, including investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases. Kenya is one of six countries participating in the President’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI), focusing 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, with countering violent extremism (CVE) a cross-cutting issue for all three focus areas.
The Kenyan government worked to prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, including Kenyan nationals, attempting to join al-Shabaab in Somalia or ISIS in Iraq, Libya, or Syria.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Kenya experienced multiple terrorist incidents, including small‑scale, but high-profile, attacks in Mombasa on September 11 and in Nairobi on October 27, the first terrorist incidents in Kenya’s two largest cities in more than a year.
- In May, on Kenya’s southern coast, there were separate incidents in Kwale County in which presumed al-Shabaab gunmen killed one former al-Shabaab member and three community policing officers working with returned al-Shabaab fighters.
- In June, al-Shabaab attackers killed five police officers escorting a passenger bus in Mandera.
- In July, another al-Shabaab attack killed at least six bus passengers in Mandera County.
- In September, police killed three women who attacked officers at Mombasa’s central police station.
- In October, al-Shabaab carried out two separate attacks in Mandera, killing at least six people at a workers dormitory and at least 12 people at a hotel.
- In October, a police officer stationed outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi shot and killed a man who attacked the officer with a knife. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is unknown if the perpetrator was, in fact, ISIS-affiliated.
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. The Security Laws (Amendment) Act of 2014 (SLAA) altered 20 laws to strengthen Kenya’s legislative framework to fight terrorism, including: criminalization of participating in terrorist training; establishing a framework 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.
The Kenyan judiciary continued to demonstrate independence, exemplified by the High Court’s actions in 2015, when it struck down some provisions of the SLAA as unconstitutional and demonstrated capacity to handle cases related to terrorism. The judiciary remained hampered, however, by insufficient procedures to effectively use plea agreements, cooperation agreements, electronic evidence, and undercover investigative tools. Allegations of corruption in the judiciary, including in the High Court, have persisted.
Government counterterrorism functions were divided among the three branches of the National Police Service – the Kenya Police (including the paramilitary General Service Unit), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (including the investigative Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, the Bomb Disposal Unit, and the Cyber Forensics Investigative Unit), and the Administration Police (including the Rural Border Patrol Unit) – as well as non-police agencies, such as the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and elements of the Kenya Defense Forces. In May, the government relocated NCTC, NIS, and the National Security Council to the Office of the President. Interagency coordination improved, particularly in information sharing; however, shortages in resources and training, corruption among some personnel, and unclear command and control hindered operational effectiveness. The government continued, with donor support, to work on a single crisis response command center – a result of lessons learned from the 2015 attack at Garissa University College in which al-Shabaab terrorists killed at least 147 people.
Kenyan officials participated in a range of U.S. government-sponsored capacity-building programs funded and implemented by the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice. Programs included training in crisis response, border operations, investigations, and prosecutions. Notable among these was the Department of State’s third annual East Africa Joint Operations Capstone exercise, a month-long crisis response training series hosted in Kenya for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan law enforcement personnel. The exercise culminated in a large-scale simulated response to a terrorist incident in multiple locations over a 20-hour period, and included community engagement and human rights-related issues, as well as a senior-level tabletop exercise.
Border security remained a challenge for Kenya due to vast, sparsely populated border regions and largely uncontrolled land borders. This was exacerbated by security agency and other government resource gaps and corruption at multiple levels.
Kenyan officials emphasized the importance and challenges of border security in their discussions with U.S. counterparts. SGI-supported exchange visits with U.S. border security officials helped to improve Kenyan interagency coordination efforts and refinement of a country border control strategy, as well as legislative changes. Gaps in border security and national identification systems 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 and airports. Kenya continued its partnership with the United States to strengthen traveler screening using the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) at major ports of entry.
The Kenyan government worked to prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, including Kenyan nationals attempting to join al-Shabaab in Somalia or ISIS and those returning from fighting with these groups abroad. In October, Kenyan prosecutors obtained the first conviction under the 2015 SLAA, which criminalized travel to receive terrorist training. Under the ruling, a Kenyan man was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after being arrested in Somalia and returned to Kenya.
Kenyan security services detected and deterred terrorist plots during 2016 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 certain communities. Nonetheless, there were numerous allegations in 2016 that the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, particularly of known or suspected criminals, including terrorists. We refer you to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/ for further information.
Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority continued to make progress in fulfilling its mandate by investigating multiple cases of police misconduct and referring cases to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
At the end of 2016, several major terrorism cases were ongoing, including the trial of four Kenyans and one Tanzanian citizen charged in connection with the 2015 Garissa University College attack. That trial resumed in January after an administrative postponement in 2015, but was suspended again in October after the Tanzanian defendant was found mentally unfit to stand trial. The trial of British terrorist suspect Jermaine Grant on explosives charges continued. Grant was sentenced in 2015 in a separate trial to nine years imprisonment on charges related to trying to obtain Kenyan citizenship illegally.
The Kenyan government cooperated with the United States to investigate the October 27 attack on a police officer outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and to increase security at the embassy. Kenyan law enforcement agencies worked with regional organizations and the broader international community, including the United States, to increase their counterterrorism capacity and to secure land, sea, and air borders.
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 implements relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including 1373 and the ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. It has made progress on its anti‑money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime since its June 2014 removal from review by the FATF for strategic deficiencies.
Kenya’s financial intelligence unit, the Financial Reporting Center (FRC), continued to build its capacity to monitor the formal financial system. The government has not yet appointed a permanent director to the FRC, which remained hampered by a lack of essential resources and faced challenges meeting minimum staffing, physical security, and information technology requirements. The FRC also lacked an electronic reporting system for analyzing 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, to increase overall financial transaction integrity through greater financial inclusion, but the use of unregulated informal financial mechanisms, including hawalas, continued.
Non-governmental organizations are required to report suspicious transactions to the FRC, but compliance is not always enforced.
Countering Violent Extremism: In September, Kenya’s president launched the government’s National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism. Among other priorities, the strategy highlighted the importance of engagement with civil society and development of county-level countering violent extremism (CVE) action plans. The Lamu, Kwale, and Mombasa county governments established county‑level CVE strategies in 2016.
Kenya’s government increased its efforts and coordination with international partners to advance CVE, including counter-radicalization to violence, counter-messaging, and the rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighter returnees. The government continued some small-scale efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate former al-Shabaab fighters, facilitators, and sympathizers, but efforts were constrained by the lack of a clear legal framework and supportive public messaging. The national CVE strategy identified this as a key area of importance. Kenya’s second-largest city, Mombasa, is an active member of the Strong Cities Network. 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 African Union, including on the Peace and Security Committee, and is a troop-contributing country to AMISOM. Kenya remains engaged with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and hosted several consultative meetings on IGAD’s development of a regional CVE strategy during the year. Kenya is also a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. Although not a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Kenya is an active participant in relevant GCTF activities and is participating in the GCTF-endorsed International CT/CVE Clearinghouse Mechanism as a pilot country, which is being developed as a means to help countries and donors optimize civilian counterterrorism and CVE capacity-building programs.
Overview: The Government of Mali remained a willing, if challenged, U.S. counterterrorism partner. Continued terrorist activity was widespread in Mali’s ungoverned northern region with limited attacks spreading into central and southern Mali. Lackluster implementation of the June 2015 peace accord between the Malian government and two coalitions of armed groups hampered the return of public services and security to the north. Mali continues 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, terrorist groups continued their attacks on all parties to the accord, including former rebel groups with which the terrorists had briefly allied.
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 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, and Ansar al-Dine (AAD). Domestic and international security forces believed most, if not all of these groups, coordinated efforts on certain operations. MINUSMA maintained its northern presence in 2016, and continued its work with the Malian government and signatory armed groups to facilitate the redeployment of Malian government officials and security forces to the north.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: AQIM, MUJAO, AMB, and AAD continued to conduct terrorist attacks in northern and central Mali. Land mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, rocket and mortar attacks, and complex small arms fire attacks primarily targeted international and Malian military forces. From the beginning of the year through the end of September, 25 UN peacekeepers were killed, along with eight civilian contractors and one civilian staff member. Continuing a trend that began in 2015, attacks by violent Islamist extremist groups moved beyond the traditional conflict zone in the north to the center and south of the country. Terrorist incidents included:
- Several high-profile kidnappings of westerners occurred in Mali. On January 7, a Swiss citizen was abducted in Timbuktu; AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. On October 14, a U.S. citizen was abducted in Niger along the Malian border and reports indicate he was being held in Mali; there have been no credible claims of responsibility for his kidnapping. On December 24, a French citizen was abducted in Gao city; no one claimed responsibility for the kidnapping before year’s end.
- On March 21, gunmen attempted to attack the European Union training mission headquarters at Bamako’s Hotel Nord Sud. One attacker was killed trying to breach the perimeter. One was arrested shortly thereafter. AMB and AQIM were suspected of involvement.
- On April 12, three French soldiers were killed by an IED attack claimed by ADD in Tessalit. In response, French forces initiated a series of arrests that later prompted a violent protest that destroyed the Kidal airport, as well as the kidnapping of four International Committee of the Red Cross staff, who were later released.
- Five UN peacekeepers were killed in a May 29 attack against a MINUSMA convoy near Sevare in central Mali.
- On July 19, an attack against a Malian military base in Nampala, later claimed by AAD, resulted in at least 19 Malian soldiers killed and five kidnapped.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Implementation of Mali’s penal code of 2013, intended to help to counter terrorism and transnational organized crime, continued during 2016. The judiciary prosecuted several terrorism-related cases during the year, but the only convictions were in absentia. Examples of this include the November 28 convictions of Mohamed Ag Mohamed Alassane, Moussa Ag Sidi, and Sidi Mohamed Ag Ouness, all of whom were sentenced to death in absentia for terrorist acts. The National Assembly passed a law on November 9, 2015, 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, 2015, attack on the Radisson hotel.
Malian security forces and law enforcement responsible for counterterrorism efforts, particularly the Malian National Guard, Gendarmerie, and police components of the newly established antiterrorism unit (Forces Speciales Anti-terroristes, FORSAT) participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program for prevention of and response to terrorist attacks. The training efforts included crime scene investigations of a terrorist attack, surveillance detection, first incident response to an attack, securing vital infrastructures, and joint exercises that incorporated and reinforced these training activities. For example, in the lead up to the Africa-France Summit in Bamako in January 2017, Malian security forces planned, rehearsed, and carried out exercises throughout Bamako. In May, Mali and the United States signed an agreement to increase support for the Malian Gendarmerie Crisis Response Team (a SWAT team equivalent) in Bamako.
The Malian Armed Forces 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; however, 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 and limited border security enforcement mechanisms in the south, the northern borders remained unsecured. Law enforcement and military units lacked capacity, training, and the necessary equipment to secure Mali’s porous borders. The United States continued to work with the Malian security forces to expand the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) program. 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, but their effectiveness is limited. Mali receives INTERPOL notices, but the INTERPOL database is unavailable at some points of entry.
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 seized goods. The exit and entry stamps used by border officials are inconsistent in size and shape, undermining efforts to authenticate travel documents.
Mali began issuing fully biometric passports on April 1, following the March 13 terrorist attack in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast. The chip-enabled biometric passports will eventually replace previously issued machine-readable passports. Security measures in the machine-readable passports include 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).
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 ongoing cooperation of U.S. law enforcement agencies in the investigation into the November 20, 2015, attack on the Radisson Hotel in which one U.S. citizen was killed. In October 2015, the U.S. Department of State activated its Antiterrorism Assistance program called SPEAR (Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response) as a Quick Reaction Force for Embassy Bamako in the event of a crisis. Since the attack at the Radisson hotel, the U.S. Department of State has signed a multi-year agreement to develop a Crisis Response Team within the Malian Gendarmerie team responsible for responding to these types of attacks in Bamako.
The Malian military continued to focus on strengthening command-and-control capacity. It remained insufficiently resourced and lacked personnel trained in effective law enforcement, counterterrorism investigative techniques, and enhanced border security operations.
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 of Financial Intelligence Units.
In accordance with the standard West African Economic and Monetary Union provisions pertaining to the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1373 and the ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime, Mali has incorporated provisions into its national law to enable the freezing of terrorist assets; however, implementation of this mechanism remained incomplete. The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Treasury have the responsibility to provide the UN Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions list to national institutions, all financial institutions, and security forces on a regular basis. The 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 remain frozen for an unrestricted amount of time during an ongoing investigation. Coordination between investigative agencies is poor, however, and not all suspected cases made it to court.
Most 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 terrorist 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: In June, Mali drafted its first national strategy for the prevention of radicalization, terrorism, and violent extremism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for coordinating development and monitoring the national strategy. 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; however, the absence of Malian government control in much of north and central Mali hindered efforts to prevent increased radicalism and recruitment by violent extremist groups.
International and Regional Cooperation: Mali participated in regional organizations and international bodies including the Economic Community of West African States, the United Nations, and the African Union (AU). Mali remained active in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and also participated in Global Counterterrorism Forum events. Mali is also part of the Security Governance Initiative between the United States and six African partners, first announced in 2014, which offers a comprehensive approach to improving security sector governance and capacity to address threats.
The Malian military participated in multinational border security operations under the mandate of the G-5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Operations were carried out with French and Mauritanian military forces.
Operation Barkhane continued to support G-5 Sahel operations in the region. In July, the AU led a technical assessment mission to Mali to develop regional options to address terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel-Sahara region.
 This sentence previously concluded: “AQIM and AMB took responsibility for his kidnapping.” A careful review of media, foreign government reports, and U.S. government reports showed that no credible claim of responsibility was made.
Overview: Mauritania remained an important regional counterterrorism partner in 2016. The Mauritanian government continued to oppose terrorism actively and effectively, building on an approach that hinges on community outreach, 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 seized opportunities to participate in U.S.-sponsored training on counterterrorism tactics and techniques.
Mauritania is an excellent security partner with a strong record of taking direct action against al‑Qa’ida in the Maghreb (AQIM), ISIS, and similar groups, defending its borders from infiltration and opposing the spread of violent extremist ideology. In the wake of three major terrorist incursions in 2011, which were defeated by Mauritanian security forces, terrorist activity in the country has been reduced substantially.
Mauritania is strategically located. It is both a Sahelian country, hosting the headquarters of the Secretariat of the G-5 Sahel countries (along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger), and a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (along with Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia). Mauritania hosted the Arab League Summit in July.
Regions in Mauritania’s interior are imperfectly monitored owing to their geographic isolation from population centers and inhospitable desert conditions. AQIM remained the leading terrorist threat to Mauritania, but al-Murabitoun and like-minded terrorist groups also had a presence in the region, particularly in the southeastern border with Mali.
The number of Mauritanians participating in terrorist activities remained at similar levels since 2011, including Mauritanians in senior-level positions within groups such as AQIM. Local sources estimated 55 Mauritanians as members of AQIM, mainly from the Beydane tribes of Brebich, Eterchane, Ijemmane, Kounta, Oulad Daoud, and Oulad Talha. Government authorities were also alert to the threat of ISIS in Mauritania, as evidenced by a series of arrests of subjects suspected of recruiting for the group.
Mauritanian political and religious personalities – including Islamic figures – periodically condemned ISIS’ aims, methods, and activities in their public statements.
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 and prescribed punishment for perpetrators. Additionally, the Mauritanian government continued to sharpen its counterterrorism capabilities in ways that satisfied the obligations in UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015). For example, in 2016, Mauritania amended its 2010 counterterrorism statute to expand the impact against foreign terrorist fighters. The 2016 amendments significantly broadened the scope of terrorism, criminalizing for the first time aiding and abetting, inciting, and advising the commission of terrorist acts. The new amendment also provides more clarity in criminalizing as a terrorist offense the intentional act of financing, supporting, or assisting in the organization of a journey by a foreign terrorist combatant to train or train other terrorist combatants for the purpose of committing terrorist acts. It criminalizes as a terrorist offense the intentional act of committing a murder, abduction, or assault against an internationally protected person (diplomat) or an attack on the diplomat’s office or private residence.
Mauritania’s National Gendarmerie, a paramilitary police agency; and its National Security Directorate, which falls under the Ministry of Interior; are the primary law enforcement units performing counterterrorism functions. Cooperation and information sharing between the two organizations occurred sporadically.
Although Mauritanian security forces were able to successfully deter and prevent acts of terrorism, Mauritania is committed to further improving its counterterrorism capacity. Throughout the year, personnel from the security forces participated in eight separate courses funded by the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program. This training conferred expertise in relevant tactical and technical skills, to include investigations, evidence gathering, and border security. 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.
Border security remains a priority of the Mauritanian government, but challenges remain due to a lack of capacity and the lack of a standing policy that accords responsibility for different sections of the country’s long land borders to different formations within the security forces. The vast Mauritanian borders traversing inhospitable and hard-to-access areas of the Sahara desert further complicated efforts to monitor and secure borders, particularly those with Mali. To address this challenge, the Mauritanian government designated significant portions of northern and eastern Mauritania as a military zone. Citizens and personnel operating within the zone are required to gain authorization prior to entering. This control allows the Mauritanian military to monitor personnel traversing the country. 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 in the region were nascent.
Mauritanian authorities continued to arrest terrorism suspects in 2016. In June, during security preparations in advance of Mauritania hosting the Arab League Summit, Mauritanian authorities arrested several individuals believed to be ISIS sympathizers. In October, Mauritania authorities arrested three individuals perceived to be a security threat to Western interests.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Mauritania is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force and maintains observer status within the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa; both are Financial Action Task Force-style regional bodies. In January, the Mauritanian government submitted to parliament a draft amendment of certain provisions relating to their Law No. 2005-048, which pertains to money laundering and terrorist financing. This amendment aims to harmonize domestic legislation with international conventions. The updated counterterrorism law introduced new provisions on the immediate administrative freezing of the assets of terrorist individuals and entities listed in the UN Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. Mauritania’s current regulations require banks and formal money exchange and remittance offices to report suspicious transactions to its financial intelligence unit, the Financial Information Analysis Commission. The government also adopted in October a new anti‑corruption regulation that has a component on international judicial cooperation on terrorist asset forfeiture and seizure.
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.
Countering Violent Extremism: Although the Mauritanian government does not have a Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan, it continued to manage programs designed to counter violent extremism and offer alternatives to at-risk individuals. In 2016, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Traditional Education inaugurated 19 pilot Islamic schools. Each school supports a workforce of at least 30 students (boys and girls) who each receive a monthly grant of 10,000 ouguiya (US $28) and each teacher receives a salary of 100,000 (US $280).
The government also continued to collaborate with independent Islamic religious organizations to promote moderation, sponsor radio and television programming on the themes of temperance in Islam, and pay monthly salaries of 50,000 ouguiya (US $140) to 200 moderate imams who fulfilled stringent selection criteria.
Regional and International Cooperation: Mauritania remained an active member of the United Nations; the Arab League; the African Union; and the G-5 Sahel, a regional cooperation partnership organized in 2015 with five member countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The Mauritanian government also played a supportive role in regional Global Counterterrorism Forum meetings that took place in Nouakchott in 2016.
On November 3, Mauritania attended a DOJ workshop held in Rabat, Morocco. This regional workshop focused on building and augmenting the institutional architecture needed to counter transnational crime and terrorism through effective international cooperation, mutual legal assistance, and extradition.
On November 3 and 4, Mauritania hosted the annual meeting of the G-5 Sahel Security and Defense Committee in Nouakchott. During the two-day meeting, Chiefs of Defense of the member states discussed increased cooperation, coordination, and information sharing between their security services to address regional terrorism concerns. On November 20, in N’Djamena, the heads of state of the G-5 Sahel announced the creation of a regional joint force.
Overview: In 2016, terrorist groups active in Niger included Boko Haram (BH), al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), ISIS, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Ansar al Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front. BH and ISIS-West Africa terrorists repeatedly crossed the border from Nigeria to launch multiple attacks in the Diffa Region of Niger, leading to numerous civilian and security forces deaths. Terrorists also crossed the Mali border to attack civilian and security sites in the Tillabery and Tahoua regions. The Government of Niger redeployed some military and law enforcement resources to this area from the Diffa Region.
Suspected members of 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. With 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 participated in the Security Governance Initiative, 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 improved coordination and communication of security policies to the public.
2016 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 June 3 and 6, BH terrorists attacked Bosso town in Diffa, killing 32 soldiers.
- On June 16, BH terrorists attacked Ngagam village in Diffa, killing seven gendarmes and looting grain supplies.
- On September 10, unknown assailants attacked the Tabareybarey refugee camp in Tillabery Region, killing one 18-year-old female refugee and one five-year-old male refugee.
- On October 6, unknown assailants attacked a security outpost in Tazalit refugee site in Tahoua region, killing 22 defense and security forces.
- On October 14, unknown assailants kidnapped a U.S. citizen resident in Niger from his home in Tahoua region.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Niger’s laws criminalize acts of terrorism consistent with international instruments on terrorism. 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 on Nigerien territory; however, a lack of sufficient manpower, funding, and equipment made this more difficult. Counterterrorism investigations in Niger are primarily the responsibility of the SCLCT, comprising 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 made 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 Government of Niger continued to partner with the United States by screening travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).
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 2016, the SCLCT arrested terrorist suspects on charges that included planning acts of terrorism, association with a terrorist organization, recruitment, and terrorist financing. At year’s end, approximately 1,400 terrorism suspects were detained in Niger awaiting trial, including at least 70 minors. Most of the cases were under review by investigating judges. While the law prohibited torture and degrading treatment or punishment in custody, there were reports security forces beat and abused detainees. Security officials reportedly inflicted severe pain and suffering on detainees in Diffa Region to secure information.
Niger continued to receive counterterrorism assistance from a variety of international partners, including the United States, the European Union, France, and the United Nations. 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. In 2016, Niger and Germany concluded negotiations to base German medical support services in Niamey in support of operations in northern Mali. 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 Department of Justice; and the Global Security Contingency Fund, a joint interagency program between the U.S. 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 is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Niger’s FIU, CENTIF, is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
Niger has adopted a regulation to freeze funds linked to terrorist activities. Pursuant to Niger’s Code of Criminal Procedure, bank secrecy cannot be invoked before the courts and any assets suspected of or identified as belonging to a terrorist group may be frozen. Niger’s counterterrorism law (Law No. 2008-18) incorporates various offenses related to terrorism, including offenses related to the financing of terrorism.
Despite its efforts, Niger continued to face several challenges in its efforts to counter the financing of terrorism, as its porous borders and historical trafficking routes make it easy for terrorists to smuggle large sums of cash. At year’s end, suspected AQIM and BH members were awaiting trial on charges of terrorist financing.
Countering Violent Extremism: Although Niger does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan, 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. Launched five years ago, Niger’s SDSS, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, 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.
Most CVE programming in Niger is driven by international partners and NGOs.
International and Regional Cooperation: Niger deployed an infantry battalion to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. 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 BH. Nigerien officials hosted and attended multiple international meetings concerning international efforts to counter the threat of BH. Niger is a member of and contributes troops to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force along with Benin, Cameroon, Chad, 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’s Sahel Region Capacity-Building Working Group and the Criminal Justice/Rule of Law Working Group.
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 African Union, the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Overview: Boko Haram (BH) and ISIS-West Africa continued to carry out killings, bombings, and attacks on civilian and military targets in northern Nigeria, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and significant destruction of property in 2016. The states where attacks occurred most frequently were in Nigeria’s northeast, particularly Adamawa and Borno. In March 2015, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of BH, pledged his allegiance to ISIS, rebranding the group as the Islamic State in West Africa. In August 2016, ISIS announced Abu Musab al-Barnawi was the new leader of its West Africa branch. This claim was denied by Shekau, however, resulting in the split of the branch into two distinct groups.
The Nigerian government took steps to increase its counter-Boko Haram efforts. Nigeria continued to work with other Boko Haram-affected neighbors in the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that facilitated collaboration and coordination on counter-Boko Haram efforts. Despite gains made by the MNJTF, much of its reported progress was merely duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of the last dry/fighting season. The Nigerian military was unable to hold and re-build civilian structures and institutions in those areas it had cleared. Most of the remaining students abducted by BH in Chibok remained in captivity, although one girl was found in Borno, and the Government of Nigeria successfully negotiated the release of 21 of the kidnapping victims.
Terrorist activity accounted for the displacement of nearly two million persons in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. The Nigerian government continued to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their home communities, although sometimes without providing adequate security and before appropriate conditions were in place for safe, informed, voluntary returns. There was no evidence in 2016 of the implementation of a coordinated plan to restore civilian security in recaptured territories. In partnership with international donors, the Nigerian government set up several institutions to coordinate the reconstruction of areas destroyed by the conflict in the northeast.
An Interdisciplinary Assistance Team (IDAT) comprising personnel from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) , and the U.S. Agency for International Development continued to work from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, closely coordinating efforts with the Nigerian military at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Daily military-to-military engagement at the Joint Combined Fusion Cell and the Joint Coordination Planning Committee led to a more detailed understanding of Nigerian military operations and established relationships with mid- and senior-level officers.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: BH carried out dozens of attacks in Nigeria through suicide bombings against civilians or attacks against Nigerian military. Some of the more notable attacks included:
- On January 28, six male and female suicide bombers detonated explosives in Chibok, killing 16 people. While other attacks this year may have resulted in greater casualties, the number of bombers made this attack significant.
- On January 30, BH attacked Dalori with three female suicide bombers and dozens of conventional attackers. At least 85 people were killed.
- On February 9, two female suicide bombers detonated explosives at the Dikwa camp. At least 58 people were killed and 78 people were injured.
- On September 20, a military convoy was attacked in the town of Malam Fatori, Borno State, killing 40 people and injuring dozens.
- On October 16, a Nigerian Army battalion located in Gashagar Village, northern Borno, was attacked by BH members who overran the army position. At least 24 soldiers were reported as missing in action, and have not been reported as found. Several of the army’s vehicles were reportedly destroyed or recovered by BH.
- On December 9, two female suicide bombers detonated themselves in a market in Madagali Village, Adamawa State. Nigerian military officials reported 30 people dead and 68 people wounded. Open source news reported up to 57 people dead and 177 people wounded.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Nigerian government’s criminal justice institutions were not significantly strengthened in 2016, although several donor countries, including the United Kingdom, continued to work closely with the Ministry of Justice to assist in prioritizing how to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorism cases.
While the Nigerian military had primary responsibility for combating terrorism in the northeast, several government agencies performed counterterrorism functions, including the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Ministry of Justice. 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 and at times hindered overall effectiveness.
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 explosive ordnance disposal, explosive incident countermeasures, and preventing attacks on soft targets. The NPF also stood up the Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response, which is a specialized selection and training program for local police dedicated to the security of the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions throughout Abuja. The Nigerian government worked with the FBI to investigate specific terrorism matters, predominantly through the DSS, and provided improvised explosive device components to the FBI for analysis at the Terrorist Device Analysis Center. ONSA, DSS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, and NPF explosive ordnance and post blast personnel worked with FBI special agents and special agent bomb-technicians in-country. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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 was limited. Cooperation and information sharing in the northeast increased between Immigration and the Nigerian Army. Nigerian implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015) was limited as the Buhari administration has made limited progress against corruption. Through the ATA program, Nigerian police, customs officials, and immigration officers also participated in interagency “Rural Border Patrol Operations” courses to build the law enforcement sector’s ability to effectively use all agencies to tackle rural border security challenges.
The Nigerian government actively cooperated with the United States and other international partners to prevent further acts of terrorism in Nigeria against U.S. citizens, citizens of third countries, and Nigerian citizens. Nigerian law enforcement agencies cooperated with the U.S. FBI to assist with counterterrorism investigations, including disruptions, information sharing, and interviews.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Nigeria is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Nigeria made limited progress towards the passage of several pieces of legislation intended to address strategic deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime. Although passed by the Nigerian National Assembly, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Centre (NFIC) Bill, which seeks to provide the FIC with operational independence and autonomy, and the Proceeds of Crime Bill had not been signed into law by the end of 2016.
The DSS is the primary investigating agency for terrorism cases, but there have been longstanding sustained concerns about its capacity to investigate terrorist financing as it does not share case information with other agencies that also have the mandate to conduct terrorist financing investigations and prosecutions, such as the EFCC. These concerns continued in 2016. There were no known efforts on the part of the EFCC or the Ministry of Justice to prosecute terrorist financing cases.
The Government of Nigeria has the ability to freeze and confiscate terrorist assets as required by the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. While there is political will to freeze assets, bureaucratic processes occasionally cause delays. The Nigerian government routinely distributes the UNSC lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities to financial institutions.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm
Countering Violent Extremism: The Nigerian government’s National Counter Terrorism Center, located within the ONSA, updated the National Security Strategy to include strengthening countering violent extremism (CVE) capabilities of state and local governments in the northeast. The government began training staff in Gombe State for a defector reintegration program, Operation Safe Corridor.
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. CVE efforts continued to be hindered by impunity for the security forces’ harsh treatment of civilians, lack of trust between security services and communities, and lack of economic opportunities in the northeast.
International and Regional Cooperation: In 2016, Nigeria continued high-level participation in regional security and counterterrorism conferences, including President Buhari’s participation in the 26th Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government, held in Ethiopia, and the Second Regional Security Meeting in Abuja, hosted by Nigeria and attended by French and British heads of state, as well as regional leaders from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. President Buhari participated in the Third Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa. Nigeria sought greater cooperation and coordination with neighboring countries to counter the effects of BH, yet has resisted taking control of the regional response. Nigeria is also a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and is a part of the Security Governance Initiative between the United States and six African partners, , first announced in 2014, which offers a comprehensive approach to improving security sector governance and capacity to address threats.
Nigeria is one of the founding members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Primarily through the presidency, Nigeria took a leading role in continuing a multilateral dialogue between countries in the region – including through GCTF and TSCTP activities – on how better to coordinate regional efforts to confront networks of terrorist groups that cross national borders. Nigeria also agreed to serve as a pilot country for the Global Counterterrorism Forum-endorsed International Counterterrorism/CVE Clearinghouse Mechanism, which is being developed as a means to help countries and donors optimize civilian counterterrorism and CVE capacity-building programs.
The Nigerian government has not invested significant resources or time enlisting regional organizations, such as the Economic Organization of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States, to assist with the BH problem. Instead, the Government of Nigeria preferred to engage BH militants in direct, unilateral military action and through the MNJTF, which is headed by a Nigerian military officer.
Overview: The Government of Senegal worked closely with U.S. military and law enforcement officials to strengthen its counterterrorism capabilities. High-profile attacks in late 2015 in Mali and in early 2016 in Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso heightened concerns in Senegal that it could become a target for terrorist attacks. The Senegalese government undertook several important legislative and structural changes to better confront the threat posed by terrorists in the region, but these changes were not fully implemented by the end of 2016.
The risk of violent extremism and terrorist activity in Senegal arises from external and internal factors. Externally, transnational threats arose due to the Senegalese military presence in several theaters of operation in the region. Internally, fundamentalist ideologies promoted by a small number of religious leaders constituted the chief concern; however, these ideologies are well outside the moderate Islam that predominates in Senegal.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Senegal enacted several important changes to its counterterrorism structures in 2016. In February, Senegal created a specialized Inter-Ministerial Framework for Intervention and Coordination of Counterterrorism Operations (CICO) to coordinate its terrorism response. In November, the government enacted changes to its Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, creating new terrorism offenses and increasing penalties and pre-trial detention periods. Finally, in December, Senegal’s President and Prime Minister signed legislation – unique in West Africa – that consolidates Senegal’s intelligence services with its judiciary and could greatly expand Senegal’s investigative options in terrorism cases. This law, related to intelligence services, allows intelligence officers to refer cases directly to prosecutors and, in turn, gives prosecutors the power to supervise and direct police officers within the specialized team of investigators assigned to the intelligence services. The CICO and the intelligence law were not fully implemented by the end of 2016. Senegal’s Ministry of Justice has created a specialized counterterrorism pool consisting of four prosecutors and seven investigative judges, based in Dakar, who have national jurisdiction for terrorism prosecutions and case oversight.
Senegal’s gendarmerie and national police have specialized units to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism. 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 African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Additionally, Senegal has been working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to promote cooperation and coordination between border agencies, including creating new, joint points of entry, funded by the European Union and the Government of Japan. With U.S. funding, the IOM is implementing a complimentary program to enhance institutional capacities in securing and managing national borders. This will include developing and emphasizing: stronger community engagement and more coherent approaches to border management, interagency cooperation, and coordination; cross-border interoperability; and trust between border communities and security officials that contributes to establishing open but well-controlled and secure borders guaranteeing full respect of human rights of persons on the move. Senegal also participated in U.S. government counterterrorism capacity-building programs, including the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program, and received significant funding and training from the French government.
Senegalese officials have identified a continued lack of border resources and regional cooperation as major security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are exacerbated by the absence of systems to ensure travel document security, the effective use of terrorist screening watch lists, and the collection of biographic and biometric screening capabilities beyond those deployed at major ports of entry. The southern and eastern portions of the country have far fewer resources to detect and deter extremists from traveling through those areas. Additionally, there is a lack of interagency cooperation across the several government entities that deal with terrorism, but there are hopes the newly created CICO will bring much needed coordination within the government.
Significant law enforcement actions in 2016 included the June arrest of a religious leader who was accused of advocating terrorism. He was later sentenced to 30 months in jail. Ten other individuals were arrested during the year on suspicion of conspiring to commit terrorist acts related to their support for Boko Haram. One Senegalese national was arrested in Mauritania and extradited to Senegal in July on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, illegal possession of explosives, and financing terrorism. Three other individuals were arrested and charged with transmitting terrorism propaganda via social media.
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 of Financial Intelligence Units. At the regional level, Senegal implements the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework used by member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Among WAEMU countries, Senegal was the first to implement the regional AML/CFT legal framework domestically through the adoption of a terrorist financing law in 2009.
Senegal did not enact any new laws or regulations on CFT in 2016, but it did prosecute one individual under their existing regulations. While Senegal criminalizes the offense of terrorist financing, it does not criminalize the provision of funds to terrorist organizations or to individual terrorists in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act. Senegal also lacks specific measures to criminalize the provision of support for foreign terrorist fighters. Additionally, Senegal has a framework in place to carry out its obligations under the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime; however, the procedures for accessing and freezing assets of listed individuals is not clarified in existing regulations.
For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 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 Sufi brotherhoods that are generally tolerant and do not preach extremist ideology. These brotherhoods are also fairly resistant to external influences. There were indications, however, that a small number of religious leaders were espousing fundamentalist ideology that is outside the mainstream moderate Sufi Islam that predominates in Senegal. In December, President Sall took advantage of a major Muslim religious celebration to reach out to the leaders of the Senegalese brotherhoods to highlight the role they play in countering violent extremism and to ask for their support, particularly in the area of education.
International and Regional Cooperation: Senegal is a member of the United Nations, the AU, ECOWAS, the OIC, and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, as well as the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. In January, Senegal began a two-year term as an elected member of the UNSC and serves as one of the vice chairs of the committee established pursuant to UNSC resolution 1540 on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In November, as president of the UNSC, Senegal co-sponsored with Spain an Arria-formula meeting on cybersecurity and terrorist use of the internet. Although not a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Senegal participated in the GCTF’s Sahel Region Capacity-Building Working Group. The French and the European Union provided financial support and training to reinforce Senegal’s counterterrorism and border security capabilities. In February, Senegal was the host nation for the AFRICOM Flintlock joint military exercise, which included a law enforcement component, and in November, the Government of Senegal hosted the third annual International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, which included a strong focus on terrorism issues.
Overview: Security and counterterrorism efforts in Somalia continued to progress through a combination of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) offensives, U.S. military strikes against al‑Shabaab operatives, law enforcement operations in major urban centers, and countering violent extremism initiatives. Despite major security gains against ISIS cells in Puntland and al‑Shabaab safe havens in southern Somalia, AMISOM, the Somali National Army (SNA), and other allied militias were unable to degrade al-Shabaab’s ability to plan and execute attacks. Al‑Shabaab leveraged clan politics and disputes to fuel noncooperation and distrust among local communities toward security forces operating in these areas. They also exploited poor economic conditions to recruit new fighters. These vulnerabilities helped to undermine AMISOM and SNA territorial gains. Federal, local, and regional security authorities lacked sufficient capacity and efficient command and control to prevent most al-Shabaab attacks.
Al-Shabaab experienced increased defection rates and weakened leadership in 2016, yet retained the capacity to conduct asymmetric attacks throughout Somalia. The group executed attacks against harder targets in Mogadishu, including the Mogadishu International Airport (MIA), the Presidential Palace, and popular hotels with security guard forces. In the run-up to the oft‑delayed electoral process, al-Shabaab increased the frequency of assassinations of government personnel, many of whom were associated with AMISOM, Somali security services, and the federal government.
In 2016, Somalia remained a safe haven for terrorists who used their relative freedom of movement to obtain resources and funds, recruit fighters, and plan and mount operations within Somalia and in neighboring countries, mainly in Kenya. While ISIS senior leadership did not formally recognize a Puntland-based ISIS-aligned faction in 2016, they have provided some support in an effort to establish a branch in East Africa. In October, the ISIS Somalia faction temporarily took control of Qandala, a coastal town in Puntland’s Bari Region. Puntland’s security forces organized an operation that dislodged the ISIS fighters with little resistance, forcing them into mountainous camps south of the coast.
In September, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud launched Somalia’s national Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) strategy, which aims to tackle radicalization to violence and violent extremism across Somalia. In the same month in Mogadishu, the president hosted an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting attended by several African heads of state, to discuss security and common counterterrorism strategies. Somalia is an active supporter of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Al-Shabaab used a range of asymmetric tactics to execute its targeted campaign against AMISOM and Somali security forces, members of parliament, and other government personnel, as well as popular gathering places, such as hotels, restaurants, and cafes. The group managed to launch several attacks per month in 2016 using suicide bombers, vehicle‑borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), ambush-style raids, assassinations, and mortar attacks. Notable incidents in 2016 included:
- On January 15, roughly 300 al-Shabaab fighters attacked the El Adde military base, killing at least 140 mostly Kenyan forces under AMISOM. This was Kenya’s largest number of casualties from a conflict since its independence in 1963.
- On February 2, an improvised explosive device concealed in a laptop exploded on an aircraft shortly after departing MIA. The bomb failed to destroy the plane, which was able to return to MIA, or kill any passengers other than the bomber. Ten defendants were convicted in a Somali court, including two al-Shabaab members.
- On July 26, al-Shabaab detonated two VBIEDs on a road outside of MIA’s main gate. The blasts were roughly five minutes apart and killed at least 13 people. One of the attackers was a former Somali member of parliament.
- On August 21, al-Shabaab targeted a Puntland government office near an open-air market in Galkayo with two sequential VBIEDs, killing at least 23 security personnel, government officials, and civilians, and injuring roughly 80 others, according to Puntland officials. Al-Shabaab used a common tactic of waiting for first responders and onlookers to gather at the scene of the first explosion before detonating the second VBIED.
- On August 25, al-Shabaab detonated a VBIED near the Banaadir Beach Hotel and Restaurant on Lido Beach, one of several attacks in 2016 targeting the popular Somali beachfront area. The attack killed five civilians and two security personnel and injured seven others.
- On August 30, al-Shabaab detonated a VBIED at the Somali Youth League Hotel, killing at least 20 security personnel, members of parliament, and civilians, and injuring more than 50 people. The hotel is near Villa Somalia, home to the executive branch of the federal government where government officials typically hold meetings.
- On October 1, al-Shabaab militants launched a VBIED attack near the Blue Sky restaurant in Mogadishu, killing at least three people and injuring five others. This popular restaurant is near the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) headquarters and the Jilaow Prison, where al-Shabaab fighters are often held. Al‑Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying security forces and the prison guards were the intended targets.
- On October 26, the leader of ISIS in Somalia, Abdulqadir Mumin, and his fighters occupied Qandala and several coastal towns located in the Bari region of Puntland, forcing residents to flee. On December 7, Puntland forces recaptured Qandala after clearing several other towns along the way.
- On November 2, two armed men shot and killed a Lower House delegate in Wadajir. According to the United Nations, the assassins were members of the Amniyat, al‑Shabaab’s intelligence operations wing.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Federal Government of Somalia continued efforts to improve civilian security, although some efforts suffered for lack of legislation and human resources. With the exception of specific legislation to address anti‑money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), Somalia’s counterterrorism legislation remained under review through several parliamentary readings. In the absence of counterterrorism legislation, the Federal Government of Somalia tried all terrorism cases in its military court system.
The Somali Police Force (SPF) continued to conduct security investigations and operations targeting known locations of weapons caches in private homes and businesses, often in coordination with other Somali security services and AMISOM. In 2016, the United States made considerable contributions toward the development and capacity building of the law enforcement sector. Somali law enforcement capacities have improved markedly with U.S. mentoring and training initiatives launched in prior years, but additional training is needed to enhance basic police investigation skills and interagency coordination. The U.S.-funded SPF Joint Investigative Team (JIT) responded to more than 100 terrorist incidents, during which they 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 limited capacity, technical expertise, and poor interagency coordination.
Somalia’s porous borders contributed to regional insecurity as al-Shabaab and others continued to move throughout the region mostly undetected. Most countries do not recognize Somali identity documents, leaving Somalia with few options for travel document verification and regional partners unable to properly vet Somali travelers. 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 little law enforcement cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and regional governments, limiting U.S. law enforcement’s ability to investigate suspected terrorists, kidnappings, and other terrorism incidents committed in the region.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Somalia has observer status in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In February, Somalia signed into law the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act that had been passed by Parliament in late 2015. Somalia continued efforts to formalize its nascent financial sector and to develop the Central Bank of Somalia’s (CBS) capacity to supervise and regulate the informal financial sector, including money service businesses. Somalia has taken initial steps to ensure compliance with the new laws and procedures requiring the collection of data for money transfers or suspicious transactions. Implementation of the new anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism law requires the development of specialized capacities, in both the public and private sectors, to regulate the financial sector and ultimately allow for the identification, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist financing cases.
The Licensing and Supervision Department of the CBS continued limited on- and off-site inspections and instituted procedures governing the licensing of commercial banks and money services businesses, in part due to the training, technical assistance, and direct mentorship programs of international partners, including the United States and the World Bank.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act also established Somalia’s financial intelligence unit, the Financial Reporting Center (FRC). Still in its nascent stages, the FRC began to create policies and procedures, develop regulations, and coordinate with the CBS to establish its role as a key agency for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 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 is taking steps to initiate nationwide efforts to counter violent extremism, particularly through counter-messaging. In September, the government launched the region’s first national CVE strategy to tackle radicalization to violence and violent extremism across Somalia. The Somali government continued to fund a position within the Ministry of Internal Security to propagate the CVE strategies and promote greater community involvement to counter the influence of terrorist groups. Radio Mogadishu and state‑owned television stations broadcasted counter-messaging programming.
As of November 2016, the revised reintegration program that combines funding from Germany and the African Development Bank aimed to reintegrate 50 disengaged combatants per month. International organizations estimated that defections from al-Shabaab to Somali government-led defection programs increased from 2015, although exact estimates were difficult to verify given limited government oversight of these programs. Higher defection rates have been attributed to ongoing counterterrorism pressure from U.S. airstrikes, as well as funding shortfalls that often strain al-Shabaab payments to low-level fighters.
International and Regional Cooperation: Somalia is a member of the African Union, IGAD, the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Federal Government of Somalia has expressed greater interest in increasing intelligence sharing and conducting joint operations against al-Shabaab with regional 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.-South African counterterrorism cooperation improved in several areas in 2016. U.S. law enforcement agencies engaged in productive collaboration with the Crimes Against the State (CATS) unit within the SAPS Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and with the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division (SAPS CI). U.S. and South African agencies shared best practices to enhance risk management efforts and better identify challenges at their borders.
In November 2016, the South African government publicly stated that ISIS had been using South Africa as a “logistics hub and hideout” and that the government had identified the presence of foreign militant “sleeper cells” in its territory. The South African government has not publicly provided estimates of the number of South African nationals who have immigrated or returned from ISIS-controlled territories. A reputable South African-based research institute, the Institute for Security Studies, stated that South Africa serves as a “transit point for terrorists and locations for planning, training, and financing terror organizations.”
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2016, the law enforcement agencies and judicial system of South Africa used existing legislation to respond to an increased level of terrorism activity. The Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act (POCDATARA) criminalizes acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism, and sets out specific obligations related to international cooperation. The Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act of 1998 applies to nationals who attempt to join ISIS or have enlisted with ISIS. The SAPS CI, CATS, DPCI, and the South Africa’s State Security Agency (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. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) protects South African borders from illegal importation and exportation of goods.
Securing the borders of South Africa is a particular challenge as there are numerous opportunities for international transit via land, sea, and air. South Africa has multiple law enforcement agencies policing its borders, but they are often stove-piped and inadequate communication limits their border control ability. Counterterrorism measures at the international airports include screening with advanced technology x-ray machines, but land borders do not have advanced technology and infrastructure. Trafficking networks make use of these land borders for many forms of illicit smuggling.
Citizens of neighboring countries are not required to obtain visas for brief visits. Regulation of visa, passport, and identity documents remains 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 continued.
In July 2016, twin brothers Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie were arrested for planning to attack the U.S. Embassy and Jewish institutions in South Africa. They were charged with three counts of contravening the POCDATARA. Siblings Ebrahim and Fatima Patel were arrested the same day on separate charges for links to ISIS. The Thulsie case is an important test of the POCDATARA and interagency cooperation. As of December 2016, both cases were ongoing.
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. South Africa’s financial intelligence unit, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Since FATF published its mutual evaluation report on South Africa in 2008, the country’s legal and institutional framework for terrorist financing issues have improved, including improved bank supervision capacity and criminalization of money laundering and terrorist financing activities. More recently, the FIC Act Amendment Bill of 2015 proposed amendments to the act governing the FIC’s responsibilities that will further address “threats to the stability of South Africa’s financial system posed by money laundering and terrorist financing.” Among the amendments, the bill assigns responsibility to the FIC to freeze the assets of persons on UN sanctions lists; however, the bill had not been signed by the end of 2016.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of South Africa does not have a Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan and its efforts in this area have not been publicly released. South Africa approved implementation of new policies outlined in the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security. Policies included an integrated approach to preventing violence and crime through information and intelligence-based policing. The goal is to enhance visible policing and public participation. Both SAPS and Metropolitan Police are involved in community policing; community-based policing efforts were enhanced in 2016.
International and Regional Cooperation: South Africa is a member of the African Union, the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and the Southern African Development Corporation.
Overview: In 2016, there were terrorist attacks on a variety of targets, including police stations, universities, and mosques in Tanzania. Tanzanian security services were involved in investigations and active operations against alleged terrorists. Security services made multiple arrests of alleged terrorists and officials were prosecuting these cases at year’s end. Tanzania’s legislature amended its Prevention of Terrorism Act, but problems remain, especially with insufficient sentencing guidelines. Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) increased engagement with the international community on countering violent extremism (CVE). Tanzanians in the past have joined the ranks of al-Shabaab. While Tanzanian government officials have expressed support for the efforts of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Tanzania is not a coalition partner.
There were several media reports of Tanzanians engaging in violence as foreign terrorist fighters, particularly with regard to al-Shabaab operations in Kenya and Somalia. There were also reports of Tanzanians publicly pledging allegiance to ISIS on social media.
2016 Terrorist Incidents:
- On May 30, 15 masked assailants used improvised explosive devices, machetes, and axes to attack a mosque in Mwanza. At least three people were killed. Police arrested at least three suspects following the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although reports indicated that the assailants made comments criticizing the government on religious issues.
- On August 23, in a neighborhood just outside of Dar es Salaam, armed assailants attacked a police station where they killed two police officers and stole weapons.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 provides Tanzania’s counterterrorism legal framework. Part II of the Act defines certain terrorism offenses, but does not provide sentencing guidelines for all crimes. In May 2016, Tanzania’s legislature passed an amendment to the Act – The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 2016, § 55 (adding a new section to the Prevention of Terrorism Act - § 11A). The amendment imposed significant sentences for terrorism crimes, such as providing material support, but does not impose specific sentences for others, such as membership in a terrorist organization or committing a terrorist act. As a result, those convicted for serious terrorism offenses could receive varying and minimal sentences. Additionally, Tanzania has yet to designate ISIS as a terrorist organization under Tanzania law. The government was in the process of developing a national counterterrorism strategy process at year’s end.
Tanzanian officials continued interagency coordination efforts in 2016, and the government sought to use investigative forensic techniques to detect, investigate, and fully prosecute suspected terrorists.
Tanzania’s NCTC is an interagency unit composed of officers from the intelligence, police, defense, immigration, and prison sectors who work collectively on counterterrorism issues. The organization lacked specialized equipment and basic infrastructure, especially for border security, and NCTC officers lacked training on intelligence analysis and crime scene investigation.
The Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service work in conjunction with the police and other security services on investigations. Once an investigation is completed, cases go 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. This included a mentorship component for the Tanzanian Police Force on investigations and training on forensic lab techniques and equipment. ATA also provided Terrorist Crime Scene Investigation courses to help build the TPF/Criminal Investigations Division’s (CID) capacity to investigate, arrest, and contribute to the successful prosecution of al-Shabaab operatives and facilitators and other terrorists.
Notable among capacity building activities was the Department of State’s third-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 corruption; the lack of a dedicated border security unit in the Tanzania Police Force; and vast, porous borders. Tanzanian authorities continued to process travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) border management system at major ports of entry. 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.
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. 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.
On multiple occasions, authorities arrested individuals on charges of terrorist activities for running makeshift training camps out of residential compounds and teaching children physical combat techniques. The most notable of these incidents occurred in October in Bagamoyo and in November in the Kilongoni-Vikinfu area, 19 miles outside of Dar es Salaam.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tanzania is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Tanzanian Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units; it continued to follow regulations passed in 2014 to implement the UNSC ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. In 2016, there were no known prosecutions or asset freezes related to counterterrorist finance, and investigatory and prosecutorial capacity remained weak. The recently enacted “The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2016,” calls for the establishment of The Corruptions and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court, however, and could potentially lead to faster money laundering and terrorist financing case adjudication.
Countering Violent Extremism: The current focal point of NCTC’s approach to countering violent extremism (CVE) 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, the police enforced laws against spreading messages advocating violence by confiscating cassettes containing violent extremist messaging that are sold on the streets. NCTC officials expressed a desire to implement community awareness programs with a counter-radicalization focus, but they 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.
Tanzania does not have a Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan. While some sectors of the government discussed the need for a counterterrorism public relations campaign, such an effort was not funded or implemented in 2016. As donor interest in CVE has increased, the NCTC has emerged as the government’s focal point for engagement with the international community. The government did not institute any new CVE programs in 2016, but donors expressed interest in partnering with the government on CVE efforts in the future.
International and Regional Cooperation: Tanzania is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the East African Community, all of which implemented counterterrorism initiatives. Although Tanzania is not a full member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Tanzania participated in IGAD’s development of a Regional Strategy on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism for the IGAD region and Greater Horn of Africa, with support from the United Nations Development Programme. 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 through 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: The Government of Uganda continued its significant counterterrorism efforts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa in 2016 and demonstrated strong political will to apprehend suspected terrorists and disrupt terrorist activity in its territory. Uganda participated in regional efforts to neutralize al-Shabaab as the largest troop contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The Government of Uganda’s ability to respond to counterterrorism threats was inconsistent, however, given resource and capacity limitations, porous borders, and corruption at all levels of government. The Government of Uganda and members of the ruling National Resistance Movement at times labeled domestic political opposition as “terrorism” and individuals challenging government or party interests as “security threats,” potentially diverting attention and resources from pursuing core counterterrorism goals.
Only one terrorism alert was issued in 2016. On May 2, the Ugandan Police Force (UPF) announced it had received information about a terrorist threat to airports and government installations in Entebbe and Kampala. Police increased their presence at the airport and at other government buildings in response to the threat, and no terrorist act occurred.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In January, Uganda’s parliament passed one amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, which was signed into law by President Museveni in late January. This amendment broadened the definition of terrorist acts to allow for prosecution of individuals who travel outside Uganda for the purposes of planning or being trained for a terrorist act.
The UPF Directorate of Counterterrorism is the lead law enforcement entity charged with investigating, disrupting, and responding to terrorist incidents. While highly motivated, the UPF overall was limited in its capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents due to a lack of human resources, funding, and training. Further, UPF officials were susceptible to corruption due to low and inconsistent pay. Although the UPF held regular interagency meetings in an attempt to ensure coordination among its security and intelligence agencies, the bulk of law enforcement elements were centrally located in Kampala, limiting their effectiveness in areas outside of Kampala.
The United States continued to provide significant capacity building assistance to the UPF, specifically through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program. Border security remained a persistent concern for the Ugandan government, with especially porous borders between Uganda and both South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Uganda used the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to conduct traveler screening at the country’s major ports of entry. The use of PISCES led to the late-November 2016 arrest of one individual allegedly linked to the al‑Shabaab bombings in Kampala in 2010; the individual was attempting to cross the border from Kenya to Uganda and was flagged by the PISCES system.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintained strong relationships with the UPF and continued to work with the Ugandan government on terrorism investigations. One particular joint investigation culminated in the May 2016 Ugandan court conviction of eight individuals for orchestrating the July 2010 al-Shabaab bombings in Kampala, which resulted in 76 deaths and 70 injuries. The results of the convictions were five life sentences, two 50-year sentences, and one community service sentence. Five persons were acquitted, but remained in custody.
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. While Uganda remained under review by the FATF in 2016 owing to its strategic anti‑money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies, it continued to make progress towards criminalizing terrorist financing and implementing United Nations (UN)sanctions in line with international standards. This included the 2016 enactment of amendments to its regulation implementing UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1373 and the UNSC ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime.
As noted, Uganda remained under review by the FATF due to gaps in its AML/CFT infrastructure. Specifically, the list of action items relate to the criminalization of terrorist financing, the implementation of procedures for freezing terrorist assets, provisions that financial institutions are subject to adequate record-keeping requirements, and ensuring adequate supervision and enforcement of compliance with AML/CFT requirements.
A significant portion of financial transactions in Uganda are in the form of “mobile money” payments and transfers, which can be abused by individuals for a multitude of crimes, including terrorism. While Uganda’s Anti-Money Laundering Act requires financial institutions to conduct comprehensive customer due diligence, it does not put the same requirements on mobile money transfers.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Government of Uganda does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan, as recommended by the UN Secretary-General’s Preventing Violent Extremism Plan of Action. As of November, a small team consisting of counterterrorism security personnel (military and police) was drafting a CVE strategy for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. No civilian government agencies were known to be involved in the drafting process. Muslim religious leaders and civil society groups presented their research and views on drivers of violent extremism to the drafting team. Civilian Government of Uganda representatives attended regional CVE meetings organized under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa that includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes and attended U.S. government CVE summits and programs.
International and Regional Cooperation: Uganda is a member of IGAD, the East African Community, the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Uganda contributes troops to the African Union (AU)‑Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) for the AU’s Counter-Lord’s Resistance Army (C-LRA) effort, and is the largest troop contributing country in AMISOM.