An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Overview: In 2021, the Government of Tanzania and the United States engaged in limited  counterterrorism and countering violent extremism cooperation. Counterterrorism has risen in  importance for the Government of Tanzania, as Tanzania faces terrorist threats within the  country and along three of its borders — Kenya (from al-Shabaab), the Democratic Republic of  the Congo (from ISIS-DRC), and Mozambique (from ISIS-M). ISIS-M presents a significant  danger to individuals in Tanzania, especially those who live along its shared border with  Mozambique. Tanzania-Mozambique cross-border security cooperation began to materialize in  2021 through multilateral engagement — primarily with coordination provided by the Southern  Africa Development Community (SADC); however, bilateral cooperation will be important for  securing Tanzanian citizens and territory.

2021 Terrorist Incidents: Tanzania experienced five notable terrorist attacks in 2021:

  • On September 20, approximately 15 ISIS-M members crossed into Mahurunga village,  Mtwara Region from Mozambique. They looted and burned shops and houses and  kidnapped and raped women. At least one Tanzanian was killed.
  • On October 1, 12 members of ISIS-M attacked civilians and looted food supplies in  Kiwengulo, Mtwara. One Tanzanian woman was killed.
  • On October 21, ISIS-M members attacked civilians in Kilimahewa, Mtwara region. A  warehouse and several houses were burned. An unknown number of people were kidnapped and later rescued by the Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF). Fatalities  are unknown.
  • On November 13, approximately 10 members of ISIS-M raided the villages of Sindano  and Michawe, Mtwara. An unknown number of civilians were killed, and at least four  others were hospitalized.
  • On December 10, members of ISIS-M crossed into Kiwengulo village, Mtwara, burning  at least three houses and a dispensary. Four civilians were killed; three from a single  family were beheaded. The attackers clashed with TPDF security forces, leaving five attackers and one TPDF member dead. Local law enforcement officials confirmed the  attacks and killings with the embassy.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Tanzania did not  pass or amend any laws regarding terrorism in 2021. In June, Tanzania’s Director of Public  Prosecutions ordered all charges dropped against 34 Zanzibari Muslim leaders held in pretrial  remand on terrorism charges from 2012 through 2014. The leaders were part of a now-defunct  Islamist organization that advocated for Zanzibar independence, the Association for Islamic  Mobilization and Propagation (UAMSHO). The 34 UAMSHO members were released from jail.

In 2021, Government of Tanzania officials publicly acknowledged terrorist activities along  Tanzania’s border with Mozambique, a departure from the government’s previous posture of  publicly downplaying the threat and labeling violent extremists as “bandits.” In response to  continued ISIS-M activity in Mozambique, the Government of Tanzania maintained a robust  security personnel presence in the southern border regions of Mtwara and Ruvuma, as well as in  neighboring Lindi Region.

The Government of Tanzania continued to limit access of diplomatic missions and humanitarian  organizations in some areas along the southern border. In rare bilateral engagement related to  counterterrorism in 2021, Tanzania’s Inspector General of Police met his Rwandan counterpart  in Kigali to discuss strengthening security cooperation on cross-border crimes, particularly  terrorism. Additionally, police commanders from Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic  of the Congo, and Uganda met in Tanzania’s Kigoma Region to discuss ways to maximize  collaboration, intensify security along the borders, and exchange security information.

A years-long effort to finalize a U.S.-funded border security program — the first in the northern  Tanga Region and later shifting to the southern Mtwara Region — stalled and then expired in  2021 after Government of Tanzania ministries failed to sign an MOU.

Charges of terrorism, terrorism financing, and money laundering, all of which result in a  prohibition on the use of bail, were used to incarcerate citizens, journalists, and political party  representatives for political reasons, though this practice has slowed since the transition to Samia  Suluhu Hassan’s presidency following the March death of former president John Magufuli.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Throughout 2021, the United States funded anti money laundering and countering terrorism financing training to Ministry of Finance  officials. In 2021, the Government of Tanzania continued efforts to regulate the movement of  foreign currency. While the primary purpose of the regulations appears to be reducing tax

evasion, the measures also make it easier to trace transactions, including those associated with  money laundering.

Countering Violent Extremism: In 2021, the SADC and the Government of Tanzania worked  to organize and plan for a Regional Counter Terrorism Center to advance  counterterrorism. Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) remained Tanzania’s  primary liaison with international partners on CVE in 2021. Starting in 2017, NCTC partnered  with the UNDP on a CVE project that included the development of a national CVE strategy and  action plan. Since 2018, NCTC and the UNDP have assured donor countries that the national  strategy and action plan would be completed imminently.

In 2021, the United States supported a UNDP initiative on community policing, aimed at  building stronger ties between security providers and community members. Separately, the  United States continued its support for CVE initiatives through civil society actors in vulnerable  areas to raise public awareness and increase resiliency to violent extremist threats and to  understand cross-border dynamics that support terrorist actors.

International and Regional Cooperation: Throughout 2021, the Government of Tanzania engaged primarily in multilateral efforts through SADC to address regional security and  counterterrorism issues. Tanzania sent a contingent of troops to the SADC’s Standby Force  Mission in Mozambique, which also included forces from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, and  South Africa. The SADC Mission joined Mozambiquan and Rwandan military efforts to combat  the uprising of ISIS-M violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province,

Mozambique. Additionally, the Government of Tanzania continued to pursue training from  bilateral and multilateral donors to enhance CT-related security units.

On This Page

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future