Tanzania: Terrorist Groups Crossed from Mozambique Last Week, and Attacked 2 Villages in Mtwara - Report.

Tanzania: Terrorist Groups Crossed from Mozambique Last Week, and Attacked 2 Villages in Mtwara - Report.

What happened?

Last week terrorist groups crossed into Tanzania from northern Mozambique twice and attacked Tanzanian villages, according to a report in Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”.

When exactly?

The first attack occurred on 18 October against Sengele village, in Mtwara province, and on the second occasion, on the night of 21 October, the target was Kilimahewa village, very near the Rovuma river, which forms the border between Mozambique and Tanzania.

[Note: Open source intelligence couldn't locate any "Sengele village" in Mtwara.]

Any casualties?

The raiders burnt down a warehouse containing cashew nuts, and several houses. They reportedly kidnapped an unspecified number of people, who were later rescued by a unit of the Tanzanian Defence Force.

Who are the perpetrators?

The raiders are believed to have fled across the Rovuma following the recent successes by the Mozambican defence and security forces and their allies from Rwanda and from SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) against the terrorist groups in Cabo Delgado province.

Any response from Tanzanian authorities?

None so far. However, rarely have the Tanzanian authorities been willing to talk about terror incidents in the country. Furthermore, threats from government officials against media outlets in Tanzania have led to a culture of self-censorship among journalists, and it is no surprise there has been zero coverage of the terror attacks.

Risk advisory

Although there has been no statement from the Tanzanian government, which is not unexepected, preliminary reports suggest the raiders came Mozambique. This makes the threat emanating from events in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique when local, Rwandan and SAMIM troops have been fighting Islamist insurgents, remain high.

The situation in DRC, where Tanzania is one of the countries which have troops contributing to the United Nations Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), could potentially attract retributions from one of the main insurgents in the East region of the country, ADF/ISCAP.

Furthermore, reports suggesting a connection between the Islamist insurgents in Mozambique and DRC, makes Tanzania a potential target for future attacks.

Additionally, events in Uganda,  where a fourth terror-related incident occured yesterday, should put Tanzania, which shares a border with Uganda on the north, on alert.

As a porous border region, Mtwara -where the two incidents happeneded - is vulnerable to the undetected entrance of new actors and groups, including potential Islamist insurgents.