Overview: In 2016, there were terrorist attacks on a variety of targets, including police stations, universities, and mosques in Tanzania. Tanzanian security services were involved in investigations and active operations against alleged terrorists. Security services made multiple arrests of alleged terrorists and officials were prosecuting these cases at year's end. Tanzania's legislature amended its Prevention of Terrorism Act, but problems remain, especially with insufficient sentencing guidelines. Tanzania's National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) increased engagement with the international community on countering violent extremism (CVE). Tanzanians in the past have joined the ranks of al-Shabaab. While Tanzanian government officials have expressed support for the efforts of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Tanzania is not a coalition partner.
There were several media reports of Tanzanians engaging in violence as foreign terrorist fighters, particularly with regard to al-Shabaab operations in Kenya and Somalia. There were also reports of Tanzanians publicly pledging allegiance to ISIS on social media.
2016 Terrorist Incidents:
On May 30, 15 masked assailants used improvised explosive devices, machetes, and axes to attack a mosque in Mwanza. At least three people were killed. Police arrested at least three suspects following the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although reports indicated that the assailants made comments criticizing the government on religious issues.
On August 23, in a neighborhood just outside of Dar es Salaam, armed assailants attacked a police station where they killed two police officers and stole weapons.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 provides Tanzania's counterterrorism legal framework. Part II of the Act defines certain terrorism offenses, but does not provide sentencing guidelines for all crimes. In May 2016, Tanzania's legislature passed an amendment to the Act – The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 2016, § 55 (adding a new section to the Prevention of Terrorism Act – § 11A). The amendment imposed significant sentences for terrorism crimes, such as providing material support, but does not impose specific sentences for others, such as membership in a terrorist organization or committing a terrorist act. As a result, those convicted for serious terrorism offenses could receive varying and minimal sentences. Additionally, Tanzania has yet to designate ISIS as a terrorist organization under Tanzania law. The government was in the process of developing a national counterterrorism strategy process at year's end.
Tanzanian officials continued interagency coordination efforts in 2016, and the government sought to use investigative forensic techniques to detect, investigate, and fully prosecute suspected terrorists.
Tanzania's NCTC is an interagency unit composed of officers from the intelligence, police, defense, immigration, and prison sectors who work collectively on counterterrorism issues. The organization lacked specialized equipment and basic infrastructure, especially for border security, and NCTC officers lacked training on intelligence analysis and crime scene investigation.
The Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service work in conjunction with the police and other security services on investigations. Once an investigation is completed, cases go to the Director of Public Prosecutions before being brought to court. Government agencies have demonstrated an ability to coordinate in a crisis, but lack the ability to implement a comprehensive plan of action on counterterrorism that formalizes interagency cooperation.
Tanzanian law enforcement officials participated in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program to strengthen capacity in the areas of crisis response, border operations, and counterterrorism investigations. This included a mentorship component for the Tanzanian Police Force on investigations and training on forensic lab techniques and equipment. ATA also provided Terrorist Crime Scene Investigation courses to help build the TPF/Criminal Investigations Division's (CID) capacity to investigate, arrest, and contribute to the successful prosecution of al-Shabaab operatives and facilitators and other terrorists.
Notable among capacity building activities was the Department of State's third-annual East Africa Joint Operations Capstone exercise, a month-long training series hosted in Kenya for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan law enforcement personnel. The exercise culminated in a large-scale simulation of a response to a terrorist incident, including a cross-border pursuit that also focused on community engagement and human rights-related issues.
Border security in Tanzania remained a challenge for a variety of reasons, including corruption; the lack of a dedicated border security unit in the Tanzania Police Force; and vast, porous borders. Tanzanian authorities continued to process travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) border management system at major ports of entry. Tanzania's NCTC and Immigration Service generally worked to ensure that all border posts had updated terrorist watchlists, although smaller border posts often must check passports against paper copies of the list.
Tanzanian authorities liaised with Kenyan counterparts to share information and discussed how to more effectively counter violent extremist recruitment efforts and track returned foreign terrorist fighters. Tanzania was constrained from greater action on counterterrorism efforts by a lack of financial resources, capacity, and interagency cooperation, as well as having no national counterterrorism strategy.
On multiple occasions, authorities arrested individuals on charges of terrorist activities for running makeshift training camps out of residential compounds and teaching children physical combat techniques. The most notable of these incidents occurred in October in Bagamoyo and in November in the Kilongoni-Vikinfu area, 19 miles outside of Dar es Salaam.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tanzania is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Tanzanian Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units; it continued to follow regulations passed in 2014 to implement the UNSC ISIL (Da'esh) and al-Qa'ida sanctions regime. In 2016, there were no known prosecutions or asset freezes related to counterterrorist finance, and investigatory and prosecutorial capacity remained weak. The recently enacted "The Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2016," calls for the establishment of The Corruptions and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court, however, and could potentially lead to faster money laundering and terrorist financing case adjudication.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The current focal point of NCTC's approach to countering violent extremism (CVE) is its community policing program. Through this initiative, which has been active in many perceived radicalization hot spots for several years, officials believe they are building better relations with key communities and have been better able to detect threats tied to radicalization. In addition, the police enforced laws against spreading messages advocating violence by confiscating cassettes containing violent extremist messaging that are sold on the streets. NCTC officials expressed a desire to implement community awareness programs with a counter-radicalization focus, but they lacked the funds to develop such an initiative.
Tanzania's nascent efforts at counter-messaging included outreach to religious leaders to encourage moderate voices and to discourage guest preachers who might seek to spread extremist ideologies in houses of worship.
Tanzania does not have a Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan. While some sectors of the government discussed the need for a counterterrorism public relations campaign, such an effort was not funded or implemented in 2016. As donor interest in CVE has increased, the NCTC has emerged as the government's focal point for engagement with the international community. The government did not institute any new CVE programs in 2016, but donors expressed interest in partnering with the government on CVE efforts in the future.
International and Regional Cooperation: Tanzania is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the East African Community, all of which implemented counterterrorism initiatives. Although Tanzania is not a full member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Tanzania participated in IGAD's development of a Regional Strategy on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism for the IGAD region and Greater Horn of Africa, with support from the United Nations Development Programme. Tanzania is an active member of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism and participated in the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Tanzania's NCTC coordinated with partner organizations through the East African Police Chiefs' Organization and the Southern African Police Chiefs' Organization. Police officials also worked closely with INTERPOL. Tanzania had close relations with police and counterterrorism officials in Kenya and Uganda, although they would benefit from better mechanisms to share information electronically.