Senegal

Overview:  Although there were no reported terrorist attacks in Senegal in 2022, the Government of Senegal increasingly considers itself a likely 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 counterterrorism (CT) capabilities.

The risk of terrorist activity in Senegal arises primarily from increasing political instability and the prevalence of multiple active terrorist groups in neighboring Mali.  These factors increase the risk of violent extremism spilling across the border into Senegal and threatening stability.  Senegal has taken steps to combat this threat by contributing troops to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, establishing new military and Gendarmerie camps along its eastern border, and substantially increasing the number of Gendarmerie among its ranks.  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.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no reported terrorist incidents in Senegal in 2022.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  There were no significant changes to Senegal’s CT legal framework in 2022.  Senegal continued to enhance the capabilities of its Interministerial Framework for Intervention and Coordination of CT Operations (or CICO), formed in 2016 to coordinate the government’s response to terrorism.

Senegal’s gendarmerie and national police have specialized units to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism, and the Ministry of Justice has a specialized pool of magistrates to investigate and prosecute terrorist-related activity.  Challenges remain to effective interagency cooperation and information sharing between the various governmental bodies that have CT functions in the country.

The country continued to improve its law enforcement capacity by participating in multilateral efforts, such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF’s) West Africa working group, AU programs, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Additionally, Senegal continued to work with the International Organization for Migration to promote cooperation and coordination between 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. Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Targeting System-Global (or ATS-G) software with the National Police, paving the way for Senegal to capture and analyze Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records in a move toward implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2396.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Senegal is a member of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa.  Its FIU, the National Financial Intelligence Processing Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group.  Senegal remained on the FATF “gray list” in 2022.

In 2022, FATF reported Senegal took steps toward improving its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, including by providing training to the investigative and judicial authorities on the use of financial intelligence to identify and investigate money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) cases, establishing and implementing a risk-based AML/CFT monitoring system, continuing to enhance the FIU’s resources to ensure effective operational analysis, ensuring consistent understanding of ML/TF risks across relevant authorities through training and outreach, and seeking mutual legal assistance and other forms of international cooperation.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  In partnership with the Institute of Security Studies, the Senegalese government’s Director General of the Centre des Hautes Études de Défense et de Sécurité (CHEDS) completed a study, Preventing Violent Extremism in Senegal:  The Threats of Gold Mining.  The Director General has used the findings to advise the government on steps that could be taken to help manage artisanal and illegal gold mining and prevent Violent Extremist Organizations from exploiting the mining regions.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Senegal is a member of the AU, ECOWAS, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership.  The country remains a large security exporter, including being the ninth-largest global contributor of peacekeepers.  Although not a member of the GCTF, Senegal participated in regional workshops and activities held by the GCTF West Africa Region Capacity Building Working Group.  France and the EU provide continued financial support and training to reinforce Senegal’s CT and border security capabilities.

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