Overview: In 2019, the Governments of Tanzania and the United States engaged in limited CT cooperation, with most of the engagement focused on capacity building and border security. The continuation of terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique, which include both Tanzanian perpetrators and victims, led to continued assurances of Mozambican and Tanzanian cross-border security cooperation.
2019 Terrorist Incidents: On June 26, armed attackers killed 11 people, including nine Tanzanians, in Ntole village, Mozambique. Government sources attributed the attack to Ansar al-Sunna, locally known as “al-Shabaab,” a terrorist group since identified to be affiliated with Islamic State – Central African Province in Mozambique. Media reported that the attackers were Tanzanians who planned the attack from within Tanzania. Following the June attack, the chiefs of police from Mozambique and Tanzania met to coordinate the security response.
In November, armed men dressed in Tanzanian Peoples Defense Forces military uniforms killed six villagers in Ngongo village, Mtwara Region, Tanzania. It is believed the attackers came from Mozambique and carried out the attack in response to villagers alerting police to a large group of migrants en route to Mozambique days earlier. Although unidentified, due to the proximity to Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique, the attackers likewise may have been affiliated with Ansar al-Sunna.
Media and research points to the presence of Tanzanians among East African terrorist groups, including ADF, al-Shabaab, and ISIS. In July, ISIS released a pledge video from the “Wilayah Central Africa.” The pledge video, delivered in Swahili, calls on Muslims to unite and pledge allegiance to the “Khalifa.” Risks of attacks in Tanzania remain high, exacerbated by possible cooperation among terrorists in the DRC, Mozambique, and Kenya who seek to take advantage of lightly governed spaces and porous borders, including the return of trained and radicalized Tanzanian terrorists from foreign theaters.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In November 2019, Tanzania amended the Prevention of Terrorism Act to specifically prohibit terrorist financing.
Tanzania serves as a recruitment and transit point for terrorist and criminal organizations that capitalize on vast unguarded border space.
In July, Tanzanian police announced the arrest of five suspects who were associates of the June 26 attackers in Ntole, Mozambique. Bilateral partners and researchers also reported scores of arrests of people attempting to cross from Mtwara, Tanzania, into Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) leads the government’s coordination on CT issues but remains under-resourced and maintains no legal mandate to investigate or arrest suspects.
Tanzanian military and police leadership acknowledges the existence of terrorists in Tanzania and Mozambique and claims to be working with local populations to increase border security.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tanzania is a member of ESAAMLG. Tanzania’s FIU, the Tanzania Financial Intelligence Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group. In November 2019, Tanzania amended the Prevention of Terrorism Act to include specific mention of prohibiting the proliferation of terrorism financing. Throughout 2019, the United States funded AML/CFT training to Ministry of Finance officials.
In 2019, Tanzania continued efforts to regulate the movement of foreign exchange. While the primary purpose of the restrictions appears to be reduction of tax evasion, the measures also make it easier to trace transactions, including those associated with money laundering.
Countering Violent Extremism: In 2019, NCTC continued its partnership with the UNDP in a multi-year CVE project that began in spring 2017. The UNDP CVE project includes funding to develop a national CVE strategy and action plan, originally envisioned to be completed in 2018. Tanzania and UNDP reportedly made progress on the strategy in 2019 and both institutions assure partners it will be finalized in 2020.
In 2019, the U.S. government provided funding for CVE activities with civil society actors in vulnerable areas. Regional and district government levels do not have a clear understanding of CVE, which has hindered progress in implementing certain measures. Additionally, police-community relations, especially in Muslim-majority regions along the coast, are strained due to heavy handed tactics by the police force.
International and Regional Cooperation: In 2019, Tanzania pursued training from bilateral and multilateral donors to enhance CT-related security units. Tanzania has not prioritized working through regional bodies, including the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community on security and CT issues.