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Overview: Although there were no reported terrorist attacks in Senegal in 2021, the  Government of Senegal increasingly considers itself a potential target given ongoing terrorist  activities in West Africa and instability in neighboring countries. In light of these concerns,  Senegal continued to work closely with foreign partners, including U.S. military and law  enforcement officials, to strengthen its CT capabilities.

The risk of terrorist activity in Senegal arises primarily from the growing terrorist threats and the  prevalence of multiple active terrorist groups across the region, combined with political  instability in neighboring Mali and Guinea. These factors increase the risk that extremism and  accompanying instability could spill across the border into Senegal. Senegal has taken steps to  combat this threat by contributing troops to MINUSMA and establishing new military and  gendarmerie camps along its eastern border. Internally, there are secondary risks with the  promotion of “extremist ideologies” by a small number of religious leaders; however, these  ideologies remain outside Senegal’s prevailing Islamic norms.

2021 Terrorist Incidents: There were no reported terrorist incidents in Senegal in 2021.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no significant changes to  Senegal’s CT legal framework in 2021. Senegal continued to enhance the capabilities of its  Interministerial Framework for Intervention and Coordination of CT Operations (CICO). CICO,  formed in 2016, is designed to coordinate the government’s response to terrorism.

Senegal’s second-ever special terrorism court session, held March 17 to April 8, resolved six  cases involving nine defendants, including a returning fighter, a young French radical, two  Malian financiers, and three Mauritanians with alleged connections to the masterminds of the  2016 Grand-Bassam attack in Cote d’Ivoire. The trial evidence revealed no alarming uptick in  radicalization or insurgent activity within Senegal’s borders. At the same time, the case results  showed that much work remains. Five of the nine defendants were acquitted, two by agreement  of the prosecutor, which suggests inadequate investigations and insufficient evidence. Moreover,  all nine of the defendants — including those ultimately acquitted — waited as many as five years  in pretrial detention before their cases were heard. Those convicted received five-year prison  terms and stiff financial penalties.

Senegal’s gendarmerie and national police have specialized units to detect, deter, and prevent  acts of terrorism. Challenges remain to effective interagency cooperation and information  sharing among the various governmental bodies that have CT functions in the country. Senegal continued to improve its law enforcement capacity by participating in multilateral  efforts, such as the GCTF’s Capacity-Building in the West Africa Region Working Group, AU  programs, and ECOWAS. Additionally, Senegal continued to work with the IOM to promote  cooperation and coordination among border agencies.

Senegalese officials remained concerned that gaps in border protection resources and regional  cooperation created security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities were exacerbated by the  absence of systems to verify travel document security, to screen travelers using terrorist  screening watchlists, and to capture biographic and biometric information for travelers entering

the country outside major ports of entry. The Government of Senegal is near implementation of  U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Automated Targeting System-Global with the National  Police, paving the way for Senegal to capture and analyze traveler data (API/PNR) in a move  toward compliance with United Nations Security Council resolution 2396.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Senegal is a member of GIABA. Senegal’s FIU, the  National Financial Intelligence Processing Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group. In February,  Senegal made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and GIABA to strengthen  the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime. Since the adoption of its mutual evaluation review  (MER) in 2018, Senegal has made progress on some of its MER recommended actions to  improve technical compliance and effectiveness, including by adopting a National Strategy for AML/CFT and amending its legal and institutional framework. However, the provisions of the  law have yet to be fully implemented.

Countering Violent Extremism: The Senegalese Center for Security and Defense, a  governmental think tank, along with the Regional Bureau for West Africa and the Sahel and  Lake Chad Security Studies Institute, published a joint study on preventing violent extremism in  the artisanal gold mining regions of southeastern Senegal on December 16. Recognizing the  human insecurity risks related to extractive mining processes, this Government of Senegal-led  report identified state-level, preventive solutions to address these vulnerabilities. Senegal’s  National Police are in the process of adopting an International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funded program on community policing strategies to counter violent extremism through  improved community relations, security assessments, and early reporting structures.

International and Regional Cooperation: Senegal is a member of the AU, ECOWAS, the  Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism  Partnership. Although not a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, Senegal  participated in regional workshops and activities held by the GCTF West Africa Region Capacity  Building Working Group. France and the EU provided financial support and training to  reinforce Senegal’s CT and border security capabilities.

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