Overview: Since the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in July 1998, Tanzania has not experienced any other major terrorist attacks. However, the al-Shabaab attack at the Westgate Mall in Kenya served as a reminder that the threat in the region remains. Tanzania's interagency National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) reported concerns over escalating radicalism, corruption, and inadequate border security.

2013 Terrorist Incidents: On May 5, an explosion outside of a Catholic church near Arusha killed three and injured over 40 gathered for the church's consecration. Shortly after the explosion, President Kikwete released a statement calling the incident "a terrorist act."

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Regulations for the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act were drafted in 2011 and published in August 2012 as the Prevention of Terrorism Regulations 2012. The regulations established the police and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as the institutions that are to collect and respond to reports of terrorist activity. The regulations also formalized the process for freezing assets, deeming a person a suspected terrorist, and sharing information between government agencies.

Tanzania's law enforcement capacity needs improvement. While the NCTC is an interagency unit made up of officers from Intelligence, Police, Defense, Immigration, and Prison organizations who work collectively on counterterrorism issues in Tanzania, the center lacked specialized equipment, especially for securing the borders, and had large unfulfilled needs such as training in advanced intelligence analysis and crime scene investigation. Moreover, Tanzanian law enforcement was affected by corruption. The 2013 Transparency International report ranked Tanzania's police, judiciary, and tax agency the most corrupt in the East African Community.

According to Tanzania's NCTC, violent extremism is on the rise throughout the country.

Examples of law enforcement actions included:

  • On October 7, in Mtwara Region's Makolionga Forest, Tanzanian Police arrested 11 men ranging in age from teenagers through their late 30s. The police reported the men as followers of a violent extremist imam who had been forced out of a mosque in Zanzibar and another in Mtwara. He and his followers reportedly conducted unarmed training and possessed al-Shabaab propaganda. Local villagers informed the police about the suspicious activities of the group.

  • On October 23, in Lulago village, Kilindi-Handeni, Tanga Region, a People's Militia member was killed by a group of men suspected of being violent extremists. Police conducted an investigation and arrested four men.

  • Also on October 23, in the neighboring village of Lwande, the Officer in Charge of the police station was shot by another suspect who was also arrested. During the subsequent investigations, police learned from local villagers about a violent extremist group that ran a madrassa. Police went to the madrassa and encountered numerous women and children. The men had run away. The police recovered some violent extremist materials and learned that the leader was conducting martial arts training for the students. Police arrested the leader. Parents from the local village entrusted their children to the madrassa so they could obtain an education and were unaware of the violent extremist teachings.

Tanzania shares borders with eight countries and lacks sufficient resources to adequately patrol those borders. The larger border posts and airports have passport security, including access to watchlists. However, that is not the case in the more rural and coastal regions as their borders are considered porous due to shortages in manpower for patrolling and because electrical power is unreliable or absent – leaving posts without access to communications networks. According to the NCTC, several Tanzanian youth were arrested on illegal immigration charges in Kenya. Once returned to Tanzania, NCTC officers interviewed the young men and reported that they were crossing Kenya in route to Somalia with plans of joining al-Shabaab training camps.

In 2013, the FIU participated in U.S. training on computer forensics and anti-corruption sponsored by the Department of Justice and DHS. Through the U.S. Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, Tanzania's law enforcement community received training and enabling equipment to build their capacities in the areas of border security – particularly maritime security – investigations, and crisis response.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tanzania is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In October, the FATF noted that Tanzania took steps towards improving its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime but called attention to its remaining deficiency under its agreed action plan: the establishment and implementation of adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets. Tanzania's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is responsible for combating money laundering and terrorist finance. The FIU applied for membership to the Egmont Group and reported that the application is at an advanced stage.

The FATF again included Tanzania in its October 18 Public Statement for its failure to adequately implement its action plan to address noted AML/CFT deficiencies. Mobile banking services, such as Mpesa and AirtelMoney, continued to expand rapidly in Tanzania, opening up formerly underserved rural areas to formal banking, but also creating new vulnerabilities in the financial sector. The central bank of Tanzania estimated that the equivalent of US $650 million is transferred each month through such mobile transfers. The FIU received 68 suspicious transaction reports in 2013, a significant increase from 2012.

Non-profit organizations must declare their assets when initially registering with the government, but their assets are not subsequently reviewed on a regular basis. In November, a prominent businessman was arrested for providing financial support to al-Shabaab in Kenya.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Tanzania is a member of the AU, the South African Development Community, and the East African Community, all of which have initiatives to address counterterrorism. Through the East African Police Chiefs' Organization and South African Police Chiefs' Organization, the NCTC maintains more frequent, informal contact with other police forces in the region. The Tanzania Police Force also works closely with Interpol. Tanzania is a member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and participates in Global Counterterrorism Forum events focused on the Horn of Africa.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Tanzanian NCTC reported that countering radicalization to violence is a top priority. The NCTC is interested in starting community awareness programs to educate citizens on how to identify and report terrorist activities, and increasing training for the local police on community policing strategies and the appropriate use of force. Police leadership on the mainland and in Zanzibar has shown a keen interest in developing community policing programs. The United States is providing support for Tanzanian efforts to counter violent extremism in youth populations in Zanzibar. The aim is to engage youth and community police with local interfaith and human rights organizations.


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