Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: Tanzania

Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: Tanzania

Overview:  In 2020 the Government of Tanzania (GoT) and the U.S. government engaged in limited CT and CVE cooperation.  Tanzania faces terrorist threats on three of its borders — the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Mozambique.  ISIS-Mozambique poses the greatest threat to Tanzania, having conducted at least two attacks inside Tanzania in 2020.  Renewed assurances of Tanzania-Mozambique cross-border security cooperation have yet to materialize; however, bilateral cooperation will be important to securing Tanzanian citizens and territory.

2020 Terrorist Incidents:  Tanzania experienced two notable terrorist attacks in 2020:

  • On October 14 an estimated 300 ISIS-Mozambique fighters attacked Kitaya village in Mtwara Region, which borders Mozambique.  Attackers looted and burned houses, shops, vehicles, and an administrative office building.  Attackers killed an estimated 20 people, including two security personnel.  On October 15, for the first time, ISIS media claimed the attack inside Tanzania.
  • On October 28, ISIS-Mozambique fighters attacked Michenjele village in Mtwara Region, 25 miles from Kitaya.  Attackers looted and burned homes, shops, and infrastructure.  Attackers killed five people and kidnapped an unknown number more.  In an exaggerated claim, ISIS issued a statement on October 30 saying its fighters had attacked three villages in Mtwara near the “artificial border” with Mozambique.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  The GoT did not pass or amend any laws regarding terrorism in 2020.  In response to growing ISIS-Mozambique activity in early 2020, the GoT sent additional security personnel to the border regions of Mtwara and Ruvuma, as well as to neighboring Lindi Region.  Following the October attacks in Mtwara, Tanzania’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) met his Mozambican counterpart to sign an MOU.  The MOU allows for extradition of terrorist suspects, greater information sharing, and joint operations against terrorism in northern Mozambique.  As part of the MOU, Tanzania planned to extradite to Mozambique 516 persons detained in Tanzania for alleged cooperation or involvement in attacks in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province.  In addition, Tanzania’s IGP announced that police had arrested an unspecified number of people from around Tanzania who were planning on travel to Mozambique to “join that group.”

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Tanzania is a member of ESAAMLG.  Tanzania’s FIU, the Tanzania Financial Intelligence Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group.  Throughout 2020 the United States funded AML/CFT for Ministry of Finance officials.  In 2020 the GoT continued efforts to regulate the movement of foreign exchange.  While the primary purpose of the restrictions appears to be reducing tax evasion, the measures also make it easier to trace transactions, including those associated with money laundering.

Countering Violent Extremism:  Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is the GoT’s primary liaison with international partners on CVE.  Since 2017, NCTC has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a CVE project that includes pilot programming and the development of a national CVE strategy and action plan.  Since 2018, NCTC and UNDP have assured donor countries the national strategy and action plan would be completed imminently.  International partners have not been granted access to review or offer input on the national strategy.

International and Regional Cooperation:  In 2020 the GoT pursued training from bilateral and multilateral donors to enhance CT-related security units.  In a shift from previous years, the GoT signaled its preference to work through the Southern African Development Community on regional security and CT issues.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism.