Posted by: APO | 29 April 2008

USA / Country Reports on Terrorism / Africa Overview / North Africa Overview

Country Reports on Terrorism  
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 28, 2006

Chapter 5 — Country Reports: Africa Overview

“We, the African leaders attending the meeting between the G8 and Africa, are deeply distressed by the terrorist attacks that occurred in London yesterday, 7 July 2005. We are particularly saddened by the loss of life and seize this opportunity to condemn in no uncertain terms such mindless acts of terrorism. We are pleased that our interlocutors have affirmed their resolve not to be diverted by these terrorist acts. We join them in that resolve. We convey our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families and the government of the United Kingdom, and we reaffirm our solidarity in the fight against terrorism.”

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria

G8 Summit, Gleneagles

July 8, 2005

A small number of al-Qaida operatives in East Africa, particularly Somalia, continued to pose the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region. Though it is unclear to what extent terrorist groups were present and operating in west and central Africa, the fundraising, terrorist recruiting, and other support activities of al-Qaida and affiliated persons and groups in South Africa, Nigeria, and across the Trans-Sahara region remained a serious concern. Terrorist recruitment within the Trans-Sahara, and increasing signs of cooperation between terrorist organizations and al-Qaida, was another disturbing trend. Hizballah continued to engage in fundraising activities in Africa, particularly in West Africa, but did not engage in any terrorist attacks within the region. Anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric from Islamic radicals grew in Africa in 2005. Many African governments improved their cooperation and strengthened their efforts in the war on terrorism. Both the African Union (AU) and African regional organizations undertook initiatives to improve counterterrorism cooperation and information sharing.

There were few significant international terrorist incidents in Africa, but civil conflict and ethnic violence continued in a number of countries. On June 4, members of the Sahel faction of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) attacked the remote Mauritanian military outpost at el-Mreiti, killing at least 15 Mauritanian soldiers and wounding at least an equal number. The Mauritanian Government launched military operations, in cooperation with Algeria and Mali, against the GSPC terrorists. Those operations resulted in several clashes with the GSPC and inflicted an unknown number of casualties on the terrorist organization.

Members of the GSPC continued to operate in the Sahel region, crossing difficult-to-patrol borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad to recruit extremists within the region for training and terrorist operations in the Trans-Sahara, and possibly for operations outside the region. With the help of USG-funded training, these countries have increasingly cooperated against the GSPC.

The situation in Somalia remained a concern, as the country’s unsecured borders and political instability provided a potential transit point and safe haven for terrorists.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the region, and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) in the global war on terror.

The need for TSCTI stemmed from concern over the potential for expansion of operations by Islamic terrorist organizations in the Sahel. TSCTI was developed as a follow-on to the very successful Pan-Sahel Initiative, which focused solely on the states of the Sahel. Ongoing concern that Islamist terrorists continue to seek to create safe havens and support networks in the remote expanses of the Sahel, as well as the public affiliation of some terrorist groups with al-Qaida, led to its formal approval by the U.S. Government in early 2005.

TSCTI was originally envisioned as a five-year program based on counterterrorism, democratic governance assistance, a public diplomacy component, and military assistance.

TSCTI’s main elements include:

  • Counterterrorism (CT) programs to create a new regional focus for trans-Saharan cooperation, including use of established regional organizations like the African Union and its new Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism in Algiers. These programs include training to improve border and aviation security and overall CT readiness;
  • Continued specialized Counterterrorism Assistance Training and Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) activities in the trans-Sahara region and possible regional expansion of those programs;
  • Public diplomacy programs that expand outreach efforts in the Sahel and Maghreb regions, Nigeria, and Senegal and seek to develop regional programming embracing this vast and diverse region. Emphasis is on preserving the traditional tolerance and moderation displayed in most African Muslim communities and countering the development of extremism, particularly in youth and rural populations;
  • Democratic governance programs that strive, in particular, to provide adequate levels of USG support for democratic and economic development in the Sahel, strengthening those states to withstand internal threats; and
  • Military programs intended to expand military-to-military cooperation, to ensure adequate resources are available to train, advise, and assist regional forces, and to establish institutions promoting better regional cooperation, communication, and intelligence sharing.

African Union

The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments, including a Convention on Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention, and a 2004 Plan of Action. The Addis Ababa-based AU Commission provided guidance to its 53 member states’ ratification and implementation of continental and international counterterrorism commitments; it also coordinated assistance to cover member states’ counterterrorism gaps.

AU member state and regional “focal points” for counterterrorism approved the AU’s African Center for Study and Research on Terrorism’s (ACSRT) program of action in June. The Algiers-based ACSRT was inaugurated in October 2004 to serve as a think tank, an information collection and dissemination center, and a regional training center. The AU is working with member states to eliminate redundancies between the ACSRT and the Committee on Intelligence and Security Services in Africa (CISSA), which was established at the January AU Summit in Abuja. The Department of State and the National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) collaborated with the AU to run counterterrorism workshops.

With Danish funding, the AU recently hired a consultant to draft a counterterrorism Model Law to serve as a template. This would assist member states in drafting legislation to implement counterterrorism commitments. The Model Law will also address money laundering and other terrorism-related topics.

The AU maintained that Africa’s colonial legacy made it difficult to accept a definition of terrorism that excluded an exception for “freedom fighters.” Still, the AU is on record strongly condemning acts of terrorism, such as those that occurred in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, and London.

Although AU Commission political will to act as an effective counterterrorism partner is strong, capacity remains relatively weak. The AU seeks to create a counterterrorism unit at its headquarters to promote member state counterterrorism efforts more effectively. The AU welcomes technical and financial assistance from international partners/donors to bolster both AU headquarters and ACSRT activities approved by member states. AU counterterrorism websites are and


International terrorism concerns in Comoros focused upon Comorian national Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (a.k.a. Harun Fazul), suspected of involvement in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa. His whereabouts are unknown, but he may have continued contacts in and/or travel to Comoros.

It is possible that terrorist suspects transited or sought safe haven in Comoros, as Comorian security forces had limited resources and training in counterterrorism and maritime security. The government has shown a consistent effort to improve its counterterrorism measures, including participation in U.S. training programs and cooperation with the Rewards for Justice Program.

The Comorian Government and local religious leaders disapprove of Islamic extremism and have stopped taking money from suspect Islamic charities. In an effort to discourage students from attending radical schools abroad, the government established the University of Comoros in 2003.


Djibouti hosted the only U.S. military base in Sub-Saharan Africa, along with forces from other Coalition nations, and remained a staunch supporter of U.S. and Coalition counterterrorism efforts. Djibouti was one of the most forward-leaning Arab League members supporting ongoing efforts against terrorism.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh and many top leaders in Djibouti repeatedly expressed their country’s full and unqualified support for the global war on terror. Djibouti was one of the very first Arab League nations to do so, even in the face of adversity and criticism from its neighbors. President Guelleh publicly expressed his support and was responsive to all U.S. requests.

U.S. security personnel continued to work closely with Djiboutian counterparts to monitor intelligence and follow up prospective terrorism-related leads. This close relationship developed into a network of information with immediate and positive results. While their capabilities were limited, Djiboutian counterparts were very proactive, and were highly receptive and responsive to U.S. requests for cooperation.

The Djiboutian National Security Services took extraordinary measures with its limited resources to ensure the safety and security of American citizens, the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonier.


Ethiopia devoted high-level attention to the fight against terrorism and continued its counterterrorism cooperation with the United States. As evidence of its political will to fight terrorism, the Government of Ethiopia agreed to a number of new initiatives and continued to cooperate in efforts to collect and share intelligence on terrorist groups. As a developing nation with constrained resources in a volatile region, Ethiopia has limited, but increasing, capabilities to address terrorism threats. Draft counterterrorism legislation is currently before Parliament for approval.

Ethiopia did not provide sanctuary or offer political or financial support to any terrorist groups, and there were no significant terrorist incidents directed against U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. Ethiopia made a concerted effort to eliminate the ability of any terrorist groups to operate in the country. U.S. Army Special Forces and the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) continued to provide training to enhance Ethiopian border patrol and security skills. The Ethiopian Government enhanced physical security, conducted investigations, and provided protective surveillance in response to threat information directed at U.S. citizens.

Ethiopia accommodated requests for arrest warrants on terrorist suspects if local evidence of wrongdoing existed. The country has a good record of cooperation on extradition requests. Ethiopia is expanding the modern immigration security system installed with USG assistance at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

The highest levels of the Ethiopian Government displayed increased recognition of Ethiopia’s vulnerability to financial crimes, including terrorist financing and counterfeiting. The penal code passed in 2005 criminalized money laundering and a number of other financial crimes for the first time. Officials from the Ethiopian Department of Justice attended a Department of Treasury and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) anti-money laundering (AML) seminar in Addis Ababa. The Central Bank (National Bank of Ethiopia) drafted specific AML legislation that included establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit. Ethiopian PM Meles declared hawalas, an informal money-transfer system, illegal following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, and Ethiopia continued to take action aimed at eliminating the ability of hawalas to function as terrorist financing centers.

Ethiopia’s recently renamed National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS, formerly known as SIRA) combined the duties of counterparts to the CIA, FBI, DHS, BICE, State/Consular Affairs, and the Secret Service. NISS was responsible for overall counterterrorism management. Federal and local police counterterrorism capabilities were primarily focused on response to terrorist incidents.

Ethiopia actively participated in African Union (AU) counterterrorism efforts, nominated a focal point for the AU’s Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and participated in meetings of the new Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa. Ethiopia ratified AU counterterrorism conventions and protocols. In addition, Ethiopia was activein Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) counterterrorism efforts.


The Government of Kenya continued to cooperate with the United States in identifying terrorist groups operating within Kenya. However, more work remains to be done in domestic areas such as law enforcement, enacting counterterrorism legislation, and prosecution of alleged terror suspects.

Kenya registered little to no progress toward the overall strengthening of its capabilities to combat terrorism, prosecute terror suspects, or respond to emergencies. The Government of Kenya disbanded the U.S.-supported Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), set up in 2004 to improve police and prosecutors’ ability to cooperate on counterterrorism issues. The Government of Kenya did not engage in a national discussion to sensitize the public to terrorism issues, nor did it finalize a national counterterrorism strategy.

The Kenyan Government did arrest terrorist suspects and disrupt terrorist operations. In November, four men were arrested in October for allegedly funding terror activities; and one man was arrested in December in Northeastern Province for possession of a rocket launcher and rocket-propelled grenades, with the alleged intent of smuggling them to Mombasa.

In a setback to counterterrorist efforts, however, seven terror suspects — arrested in November 2003 on charges related to the Kikambala hotel bombing and attempted shooting-down of an Israeli airplane in November 2002, the 1998 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, and a 2003 plot to attack the new U.S. Embassy — were acquitted in June 2005. No one was successfully prosecuted for these terrorist acts in 2005.

There was insufficient coordination among police, prosecutors, and other relevant government ministries that deal with terrorism issues. The U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, in conjunction with the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program, continued to focus on increasing the Kenyan Government’s capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute terrorism.

Kenya lacked counterterrorism legislation, and its current laws made it difficult to prosecute terror suspects. For example, the Evidence Act of 2002 said that any confessions not made before a magistrate are inadmissible. The government passed a “Miscellaneous Bill” that amended the Evidence Act. The new law stated that a confession could be made in front of a judge, magistrate, or senior police officer. The government redrafted the Suppression of Terrorism Bill after a two-year hiatus, but did not table the new bill in Parliament.

In April 2003, Kenya published a draft “Suppression of Terrorism Bill,” only to withdraw it after harsh criticism from human rights groups and Kenyan Muslim communities. The Kenyan Government wrote a new draft but did not officially publish the document or submit it to Parliament. In a similar fashion, Kenya drafted but has not yet submitted to Parliament the anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance legislation needed to bring the country into compliance with relevant UN resolutions.

The Kenyan Government continued to improve aviation security through the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA). The FAA and TSA trained managers and inspectors to better oversee and maintain security procedures and planning. However, consistent enforcement of security procedures and planning remained a challenge. Under the Safe Skies program, the FAA helped Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania update and harmonize safety regulations to create a regional civil aviation safety structure and a regional civil aviation security structure. The World Bank is also moving forward on projects to improve airport access controls, perimeter fencing, and the terminal building structure.


President Ravalomanana reaffirmed Madagascar’s support for the global war on terror in speeches at the UN General Assembly, other international events, and domestic events. International terrorism is a concern in all Indian Ocean nations because of the proximity of the Republic of Comoros, where terrorist suspects may transit or seek safe haven. Madagascar’s 3,000-mile coastline is inadequately monitored. Limited equipment, personnel, and training for border control increased the risks of penetration. The Ministry of Defense, with President Ravalomanana’s support, is trying to take the lead on regional security in the Indian Ocean and has already made efforts to improve information sharing with its neighbors.

Malagasy police, military, intelligence, and security forces have little background and training in counterterrorism and maritime surveillance. Despite limited resources, government officials were willing to cooperate with the United States; one example was the successful launch of the Rewards for Justice Program. At the main port in Tamatave, which handles 80 percent of Madagascar’s maritime traffic, steps were taken to improve access control and overall security.

The Ministry of Justice, with UN support, organized a three-day workshop in August to draft an action plan for the implementation of UN counterterrorism conventions and additional antiterrorism legislation to reinforce laws already in place.


Mali worked to combat terrorism and was responsive on terrorist finance issues. The government regularly distributed terrorist finance watch lists to the banking system, but has not discovered or frozen any terrorist assets to date.

The Malian Government was receptive to U.S. assistance in strengthening control of its borders and countering the presence of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in northern Mali. The country was a principal recipient of Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) training and support. Mali will continue to receive assistance through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative.

Malians practice a moderate form of Islam, and popular opinion condemns violence and terrorism in all forms, especially in the name of Islam. Among the public at large, terrorism is generally perceived as a problem that does not affect Mali. However, foreign Islamic preachers operate in the north, while mosques associated with Dawa, an Islamic fundamentalist sect, are located in Kidal, Mopti, and Bamako. The Dawa sect has a particularly strong influence in Kidal. In general, however, traditional and religious leaders reject extremist ideologies.


Mauritania was an active participant in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI), which builds upon the Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI). Mauritania’s ability to conduct effective counterterrorism activities is severely limited by a lack of resources and funding.

On June 4, the GSPC attacked a remote Mauritanian military outpost at el-Mreiti, killing at least 15 Mauritanian soldiers and wounding an equal number. This attack sparked a strong reaction by then-President Maaouiya Ould Taya that included unprecedented military cooperation with the neighboring countries of Mali and Algeria to pursue the GSPC elements across the Malian desert.

On August 3, while President Taya was out of the country, a small group of senior security and military officers led by Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Fal, the head of the national police, successfully carried out a coup d’etat. This group, known as the Military Council for Justice and Democracy (CMJD), cemented its authority after the coup. Nevertheless, it announced its intention to turn power over to a democratically elected government by May 2007. A presidential election is scheduled for March 2007. The coup and its aftermath had an impact on the government’s counterterrorism efforts and the USG’s ability to support those efforts.

Following the August coup, the transitional government took several positive steps towards creating an inclusive political environment where moderate Islamic groups can participate in the political process. In September, the transitional government announced a general amnesty that freed more than 100 political opposition figures, many of whom were in prison at the time. The transitional government also released, for lack of evidence, more than 40 Islamists arrested under the Taya regime. Nineteen other Mauritanian Islamists with reported links to terrorism remained behind bars pending trial.

Under President Taya, the government initiated an aggressive crackdown on Islamic groups that it deemed a threat to Mauritania’s security and stability, and arrested numerous Islamists. It was not always the case, however, that the individuals arrested were promoting extremism and violence as much as that they represented opposition to, and competition with, the former government.

Both the transitional government and the former government placed a priority on protecting U.S. citizens and interests and routinely provided investigative assistance to resolve potential threats. Although no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) existed between the United States and Mauritania, it is likely that the present transitional government would facilitate any U.S. requests for assistance.

Mauritania’s transitional government faced terrorist threats from two groups: the GSPC and the Mauritanian Group for Preaching and Jihad (GMPJ). The GSPC presented a heightened threat to the Government of Mauritania and an emerging threat to the limited U.S. interests in the region because of its possible cooperation with al-Qaida through Zarqawi and other terrorist groups in the trans-Sahara region.

The GMPJ is a newer terrorist organization that was founded in 2000 by Ahmed Ould el-Khory. The exact size and areas of operation for the GMPJ are unknown, but its focus appears to be Mauritania. Several of the 19 Islamists currently in prison in Nouakchott are purportedly members of the GSPC or the GMPJ and are accused of direct or indirect association with terrorist activities.


Nigeria has taken a leading counterterrorism role in West Africa, the sub-region where its diplomatic and political influence is most pronounced. Nigeria took the lead in the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) and the African Union in sponsoring joint intelligence and security conferences on counterterrorism. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), an organization founded by President Obasanjo and other African heads of state, condemned terrorism and called for African nations to take concrete measures to combat it.

Nigerian security services were particularly cooperative and proactive when asked to investigate potential terrorist threats to U.S. interests. Nigerian intelligence and security services worked hard to improve intelligence sharing on counterterrorism issues, and the Nigerian military worked to establish units with counterterrorism capability.

Nigeria consistently lent diplomatic support to Coalition efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaida, despite the domestic political ramifications in a country that is home to Africa’s largest Muslim population.

Nigeria backed UN Resolutions 1267, 1333, and 1368. It also initiated legislative and regulatory steps to shore up its anti-money laundering regime to fight terrorism.

While current criminal law does not contain specific counterterrorism provisions, the penal code proscribed acts of violence that include terrorism. In August, the Nigerian cabinet approved a draft counterterrorism bill and sent it to the National Assembly for consideration. Under the new legislation, anyone convicted of a terrorist offense could be sentenced up to 35 years in prison. However, the National Assembly had not acted on the bill by the end of 2005.

There was no special examining magistrate with specific powers in the counterterrorism area. In Nigeria, suspects by law must be charged within 48 hours, but in practice can be held as long as deemed necessary. Most criminals are photographed and fingerprinted by security elements, but DNA samples are not taken due to resource constraints and a lack of scientific knowledge.

While the Nigerian Government does not support international terrorism or terrorists, there are some individuals and private groups in Nigeria with ties to terrorist sources in Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, and Libya. Members of terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and the GSPC, have operated and recruited in Nigeria.


The Rwandan Government made efforts to combat terrorism financing and continued to increase its border control measures to identify potential terrorists. Rwanda has an intergovernmental counterterrorism committee and a counterterrorism reaction team in its police intelligence unit. Central Bank and Ministry of Finance officials continued to provide outstanding cooperation on terrorist financing issues. Rwanda participated in regional initiatives on international counterterrorism cooperation, including active participation in the East African Stand-by Brigade.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR, known as the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda, ALIR, until 2001) — an armed rebel force, including former soldiers and supporters of the previous government that orchestrated the 1994 genocide — continued to operate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda pressed for international action to pursue the FDLR. An ALIR unit was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of nine persons, including two U.S. tourists, in Bwindi Park in 1999. The Rwandan Government continued to assist U.S. law enforcement officials seeking to prosecute three suspects in the attack who were transferred to the United States for prosecution in 2003. The Rwandan Government provided original documents requested by the U.S. Justice Department and allowed two Rwandan officials to travel to the United States to testify at the trial of the suspects. The suspects await trial.


The Government of Senegal’s law enforcement and intelligence entities responded appropriately to all perceived terrorism threats, and shared information with U.S. counterparts. Senegal’s continued support of the global war on terror has furthered Senegal’s reputation as an example of political and religious moderation in the Muslim world.

As beneficiaries of the TSCTI, Senegalese officials received training from the U.S. ATA program, hosted the command post portion of U.S. European Command (EUCOM)–sponsored Operation Flintlock, and participated in a EUCOM-sponsored seminar in Ghana on conflict prevention and combating terrorism.

President Abdoulaye Wade met several times with Imam Mamour Fall, a Senegalese cleric deported from Italy in 2003 for publicly praising Bin Ladin and terrorism, to firmly counsel “moderation.” President Wade also criticized members of the Senegalese press for inaccurately exaggerating the level of public support for extremism.

The Government of Senegal affirmed its commitment to USG-assisted efforts to augment its border security. However, lack of computer literacy within the police forces and problems with local technical support posed obstacles. Senegal’s borders remained porous and ill-equipped to prevent cross-border traffic for illicit purposes.

The Government of Senegal eschewed law enforcement and/or military action that it perceived might renew conflict with Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC) rebels in the Casamance region of southern Senegal.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s armed forces focused on border control, as incursions resulting from potential unrest in neighboring countries remained a threat. Sierra Leone did not identify any terrorist organizations within its borders.


Somalia’s lack of a functioning central government, protracted state of violent instability, long unguarded coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula made it a potential location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point to conduct operations elsewhere.

Regional efforts to bring about national reconciliation and establish peace and stability in Somalia are ongoing. Although the ability of Somali local and regional authorities to carry out counterterrorism activities is constrained, some have taken limited actions in this direction.

While numerous Islamist groups engaged in a broad range of activities operate inside Somalia, few of these organizations have any known links to terrorist activities. Movements such as Harakat al-Islah (al-Islah), Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ), and Majma Ulimadda Islaamka ee Soomaaliya (Majma’) sought power by political rather than violent means and pursued political action via missionary or charity work. Missionary Islamists, such as followers of the Tablighi sect and the “New Salafis” generally renounce explicit political activism. Other Islamist organizations became providers of basic health, education, and commercial services, and were perceived by some as pursuing a strategy to take political power.

In the 1990s, members of the Somalia-based al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) periodically committed terrorist acts, primarily in Ethiopia. AIAI rose to prominence following the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991, with the goal of creating a pan-Somali Islamic state in the Horn of Africa. In recent years the existence of a coherent entity operating as AIAI has become difficult to prove. At most, AIAI was highly factionalized and diffuse, and its membership difficult to define. Some elements associated with the former AIAI are sympathetic to al-Qaida and maintained ties with it, and may continue to pose a threat to U.S. and Western interests in the region.

Other shadowy groups that have appeared in Somalia are suspected of having committed terrorist acts against Western interests in the region, or considered capable of doing so. Very little is known about movements such as al-Takfir wal-Hijra (al-Takfir), but the extremist ideology and violent character of takfiri groups elsewhere suggest that the movement merits close monitoring.

South Africa

South Africa publicly continued to support the global war on terror, and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. President Mbeki on several occasions voiced his opinion that “no circumstances whatsoever can ever justify resorting to terrorism.” Members of Parliament from all political parties, including Muslim legislators, have echoed Mbeki’s sentiments. South Africa, however, has resource constraints that limited the extent of its ability to fund its counterterrorist initiatives.

The South African Parliament adopted broad counterterrorism legislation under the title “Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Bill” on November 12, 2004. President Mbeki signed the legislation in April and put it into effect May 2. Both the ruling ANC and opposition parties in both chambers of South Africa’s bicameral legislature supported the final version of the bill. The Act clearly defined terrorism and specifically criminalized terrorist activities in application of South Africa’s international obligations. It also prescribed penalties of up to 15 years in prison or a fine up to R100 million ($18 million) for those convicted. Small revisions protecting the rights of strikers and protesters were inserted during final deliberation on the bill, which was regarded as a strong step forward in South Africa’s counterterrorism efforts. Additionally, the government’s Financial Intelligence Center, established in 2003, received 15,757 suspicious transaction reports between April 1, 2004, and March 31, 2005.

Fraudulent documents remained a significant problem for South African authorities. Although South African documents often contain good security measures, efforts to limit the accessibility of passports and identity documents to potential terrorists are limited by resources and corruption in the Department of Home Affairs.

The South African Government distinguishes between “terrorist organizations” and “liberation movements,” as the ruling African National Congress was long branded a terrorist group during the struggle against apartheid. Popular attitudes generally reflect that distinction.

It is unclear to what extent terrorist groups were present in South Africa. Many analysts believed al-Qaida and other extremist groups have a presence within South Africa’s generally moderate Muslim community for fundraising and other support activities. The South African Government did not extend diplomatic recognition or provide any material assistance to terrorists.


Tanzania took significant steps to establish a National Counterterrorism Center. The purpose of this Center was to build Tanzania’s capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. The Center included members of the police and military.

Tanzania continued to work closely with the United States to disrupt terrorist networks and prevent further acts of terrorism. Tanzanian law enforcement cooperated with the United States to exchange evidence and testimony on cases related to the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy.

Tanzania continued to participate in several multi-year programs to strengthen its law enforcement and military capacity, improve aviation and border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Tanzania’s police force continued to participate in numerous training courses as part of a long-term effort to build Tanzania’s law enforcement capacity. Through the ATA program and the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), more than 100 police officers trained in courses including criminal investigation, crisis response, and combating transnational terrorism and small arms trafficking.

Tanzania’s military increased its participation in the Department of Defense-sponsored Counterterrorism Fellowship Program. Participation in the program will enable Tanzania to develop a cadre of military officers trained in combating terrorism.

The Tanzanian Government’s Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania showed ongoing willingness to combat terrorist financing. Tanzania cooperated with the United States and complied with its obligations under UNSC resolutions.

From January through May, Tanzania’s national multi-disciplinary committee on anti-money laundering finalized the draft Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Bill, and then presented the bill to the Cabinet in May. Because of short timelines and scheduled elections, the Cabinet delayed approval and tabling of the AML legislation in Parliament.

Tanzanian law enforcement and security forces attempted to identify and monitor terrorist activities and deny use of Tanzanian territory as a safe haven for terrorists. The government is aware that terrorists may use Tanzania’s territory for transit purposes.


Uganda had a strong regional voice in opposing international terrorism and supported U.S. counterterrorism initiatives.

Since 1987, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, has waged an insurgency in northern Uganda, using camps in southern Sudan as bases for attacks on government forces and civilians. In 2005, a significant LRA force moved from southern Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it remains. The LRA’s tactics include murder, looting, burning houses, torture, mutilation, and abduction of children for the purposes of forced conscription, labor, and sexual servitude. The LRA is on the U.S. Terrorist Exclusion List.

Between October 25 and November 8, the LRA attacked six NGO or expatriate vehicles. Until then, the LRA had rarely attacked expatriates or international aid agency personnel.

There were concerns in Uganda that these attacks represented the deliberate targeting of international interests, possibly in response to the indictment of Kony and three others by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Government of Uganda deployed an estimated 45,000 troops in northern Uganda to protect civilians and combat the LRA. Uganda and Sudan also expanded an agreement that permitted the Ugandan military to attack LRA units operating in southern Sudan.

For the past several years, technical advisors from the U.S. Department of Treasury have worked with the Bank of Uganda to draft anti-money laundering legislation. The legislation was written but has not passed. The Bank of Uganda has the power to freeze the assets of specific terrorist entities designated as terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, pursuant to the Antiterrorism Act of 2002. Uganda is also a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a FATF-style regional body of 14 countries that holds periodic anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing strategy workshops at the ministerial level.


Despite the strained bilateral relationship with the United States and the Government of Zimbabwe’s self-imposed isolation on most diplomatic issues, local intelligence and criminal investigative agencies to date have been very responsive to USG needs and concerns on terrorism issues. At the U.S. Embassy’s request, these agencies have routinely provided assistance by conducting investigative inquiries, traces, and border checks of individuals considered threats to USG facilities or personnel.


Country Reports on Terrorism  
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 28, 2006

Chapter 5 — Country Reports: Middle East and North Africa Overview

“Jordan does not bow to coercion. We will not be intimidated into altering our position, nor will we abandon our convictions or forfeit our role in the fight against terrorism in all its forms. To the contrary, every act of terrorism strengthens our resolve to adhere to our convictions, and to confront, with all means at our disposal, those who seek to undermine the security and stability of this country.”

King Abdullah II, King of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Address to the Nation
November 10, 2005

Terrorist activities in the Middle East and North Africa continued to be a primary concern in the global war on terror. Active extremist groups in this region include: al-Qaida, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (Fatah’s militant wing), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Ansar al-Islam and its offshoot Ansar al-Sunna, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s organization, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, a.k.a. al-Qaida of the Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers (a.k.a. al-Qaida in Iraq). These terrorist groups continued to affiliate themselves with al-Qaida and/or express support for its ideology.

In the past year, major terrorist attacks have occurred in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Morocco. In Egypt and Jordan, attacks targeted tourist destinations. In the case of the hotel bombings in Amman, the Jordanian public showed an erosion of support for both al-Qaida and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Lebanon also witnessed more than a dozen terrorist explosions in 2005, including one that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Widespread terrorism and violence continue to plague Iraq. Numerous attacks and kidnappings in Iraq targeted foreign aid workers, contractors, and other non-combatants. Staunching the flow of foreign terrorists into Iraq remains a primary area of concern.

Almost all countries in the region continued to cooperate with the United States in counterterrorist activities and undertook efforts to strengthen their capabilities to fight the war on terror, including active participation in USG-sponsored counterterrorism training programs. Many countries continued to provide some form of assistance to Coalition efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several countries made impressive gains against terrorist groups operating in the region. For example, under the leadership of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora (elected in July), the Government of Lebanon has taken small but critical steps to restrict the freedom of several terrorist groups, specifically PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada, to operate in Lebanon. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) strengthened border control posts and increased patrols along the Lebanese-Syrian border in order to prevent the uncontested flow of weaponry to terrorist groups. The Government of Jordan aggressively pursued the network of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab’s al-Zarqawi, who is allegedly responsible for attacks in Jordan and Iraq, including the November 9 hotel bombings in Amman. Saudi Arabia’s security forces carried out numerous operations resulting in the capture or killing of all 26 wanted terrorists publicized in a December 2003 state announcement; many on the list had direct links to al-Qaida.


Algeria made impressive gains against terrorist groups operating in the country, particularly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). Algerian officials publicly condemn international terrorism but make a distinction between terrorism and what they consider legitimate armed resistance by HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah, in the occupied territories.

According to Algerian authorities, fewer than 800 terrorists remained active in Algeria, down from the estimated 28,000 terrorists in the mid-1990s. The government’s success in capturing or killing a number of GSPC terrorists further weakened the effectiveness of this group. Though the remaining GSPC members continued to be quite active and engaged in low-level attacks in several areas across the country, the group has lost considerable public sympathy following its July congratulatory message to al-Qaida on the killing of two abducted Algerian diplomats in Iraq. As a sign of the waning effectiveness of terrorist organizations in Algeria, terrorism analysts from the African Union (AU) Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, based in Algiers, now consider terrorism to be more a threat against public safety than a strategic threat to Algeria’s national security.

President Bouteflika announced a Charter on Peace and National Reconciliation in August and a referendum took place at the end of September. The Charter was designed to serve as a mechanism to heal the nation. It encouraged terrorists and their sympathizers to turn themselves in and, in some cases, reintegrate into society (excluding those involved in rapes, massacres, or public bombings). In reaction to the announcement and ensuing vote, which according to the government passed with 97 percent approval, the GSPC increased attacks in August, September, and October. More than 118 government security personnel and civilians were killed, and 110 terrorists were killed or arrested during these three months. In comparison, 142 government security personnel and civilians were killed, and 285 terrorists were killed or arrested, in the previous seven months. The Algerian Government did not release details on the legal mechanisms for putting the Charter into practice.

During the past year as its base of support shrunk at home, the GSPC sought to align itself with al-Qaida and other extremist groups, adopting some of their tactics and activities. Using lessons from Iraq and wanting to reduce the level of casualties sustained in direct confrontation with Algerian security services, the GSPC carried out attacks using roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In one attack on September 14, GSPC terrorists killed three Algerian soldiers and wounded two others in a military vehicle near Boumerdes by remotely detonating a roadside IED. Some Algerian terrorists became more active internationally. In October, an Algerian wanted in Britain for alleged connections to the July 7 London bombings was jailed for three years in Bangkok for forging passports. In November, Spain approved extradition of two Algerian men for links to terrorism, and Italian police arrested three suspected Algerian Islamic extremists on suspicion of aiding and abetting international terrorism.

The GSPC was active regionally in the Pan-Sahel area. The group conducted smuggling activities between Algeria and neighboring countries, as well as limited attacks. In recognition of this threat, the U.S. Government created the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI). This initiative aims to combat terrorism from a regional perspective and to foster cooperation between Maghreb countries. To date, the initiative has helped the U.S. military assess more accurately the terrorist threat within the participating countries and allowed the USG to aid those countries in focusing their efforts on neutralizing those threats. (See the Africa section earlier in this chapter for further information on the TSCTI.)

Algeria’s fledgling Financial Investigative Unit (FIU) task force continued to make progress. Various banking institutions sent five reports to the committee for review. To date, no accounts linked to terrorist financing have been discovered in Algeria. Legislation was passed that required all transactions valued at more than 50,000 dinars ($685) to be conducted by check, money order, wire transfer, or other forms of non-cash payment in order to combat money laundering, informal market activities, and terrorist financing.


Egypt experienced several terrorist attacks. In April, there were three attacks on crowded tourist destinations in Cairo. On April 7, a lone suicide bomber killed three foreigners, including an American, at the Khan el-Khalili market; several other Americans were seriously injured in this incident.

On July 23, three bombs exploded in Sharm el-Sheikh, at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, killing 67, including one American. Hundreds of Egyptians and a number of foreign tourists were also injured as a result of the blasts. One vehicle penetrated security positions along the driveway of a hotel and detonated in the lobby area. Another vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) exploded on a street in the old section of Sharm el-Sheikh. A third bomb was concealed in a bag that exploded in a pedestrian area frequented by tourists. There was no evidence these attacks were directed at Americans, but they were widely regarded as targeting the Egyptian tourism industry.

On August 15, near the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip, a small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near a Multinational Force and Observers vehicle, causing minor injuries to its occupants. This incident was preceded by the discovery of a one-ton cache of explosives in El Arish, on the Mediterranean coast of the Sinai. Separately, on August 13, an intercity bus was shot at on a road crossing the Sinai.

Counterterrorism success stories included two related but unsuccessful attempts to target tourists near the Citadel and the Egyptian Museum that were thwarted by Egyptian authorities. Only the perpetrators of the incidents were killed in the failed attempts; the government described both as the remaining members of the terrorist cell responsible for the April 7 bombing.

Between August and late November, the Egyptian Government conducted an intensive security operation in Jebel Helal, a remote region in northeast Sinai, in pursuit of fugitives from a Salafist-Bedouin group suspected of links to the terrorist incidents cited above and to other crimes. During the course of this operation, several Egyptian security personnel, including two high-ranking police officers, were killed. In separate skirmishes, several of the fugitives were shot and killed, including Salim Khadr Al-Shanoub and Khalid Musa’id, whom the government identified as key planners of the July Sharm el-Sheikh attacks and three 2004 attacks in Taba involving tourism interests. The Egyptian Government maintained that all of the terrorist incidents that occurred in 2004-05 were conducted by small domestic groups.

During his campaign for the September 7 presidential elections, President Mubarak called for new “anti-terrorism” legislation to replace the decades-old Emergency Law, emphasizing that constitutional and legislative reforms were needed to eliminate terrorism. In explaining his proposal, Mubarak said, “the time has come to create a decisive mechanism to fight terrorism.” While defending the use of the Emergency Law, President Mubarak said Egypt should follow the example of other countries that recently passed comprehensive laws to combat terrorism. The Egyptian judicial system does not allow plea bargaining, and historically terrorists have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Terrorism defendants may be tried in military tribunals or emergency courts.

Egypt continued to enforce an enhanced security posture for its airports, seaports, and the Suez Canal.


Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan Government implemented important internal reforms to address the socio-economic conditions that create opportunity for extremist recruitment. In May 2005, King Mohammed VI launched the National Initiative for Human Development to combat poverty, create jobs, and improve infrastructure. This $1.2 billion initiative targets Morocco’s poorest rural areas and worst urban slums with the goal of eliminating the economic conditions that foster exclusion and despair.

Morocco continued implementing reforms to the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (MOIA), first announced in 2004, to promote religious moderation and tolerance. The reforms included measures to counter extremist ideology within Koranic schools and mosques, and a one-year training program for incoming male and female imams initiated in April. The Ministry also launched a radio station whose daily broadcasts cover most of Morocco, and continued development of its TV station and website.

In May 2003, Moroccan suicide bombers affiliated with the Salafiya Jihadiya movement attacked several sites in Casablanca, killing 45 people (including the 12 bombers) and injuring 100 others. The government’s swift and ongoing crackdown of the Salafiya Jihadiya movement resulted in the arrest of an estimated 3,000 extremists and the sentencing of at least 900 individuals for crimes under counterterrorism laws. Many of these cases were still active in the judicial system, which acquitted at least nine suspects and reduced the prison sentences of at least 30 individuals in 2005.

On March 22, the Judicial Police arrested seven individuals from a Salafiya Jihadiya cell in Mohammedia suspected of planning attacks against a supermarket and restaurants along the coastline near Casablanca. In July, Moroccan authorities arrested seven more individuals from another Salafiya Jihadiya cell in the city of Sale near the capital of Rabat.

Moroccan police linked the Sale cell to six Moroccans whom Algerian authorities had returned to Morocco after their arrest while training with militants from the Algerian terrorist group GSPC. In November, Moroccan security forces dismantled a 17-member incipient terrorist network that was linked to small terrorist groups in Iraq. Two of the five Moroccans who were detained in Guantanamo Bay and returned to Morocco in August 2004 were among those arrested.

Moroccan-born extremists associated with the al-Qaida-affiliated Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) were implicated in the March 2004, train blasts in Madrid. Although the recent dismantlement of GICM cells in Europe weakened the group, individual members remained at large.


Tunisian law enforcement organizations carefully monitored the activities of Tunisian extremists, both in Tunisia and abroad. The government worked to improve security procedures at borders and at Tunisian airports. The Tunisian Government actively prevented the formation of terrorist groups inside Tunisia, including prohibiting the formation of religious-based political parties and groups that it believed would pose a terrorist threat. The Government of Tunisia responded positively to U.S. requests for information and assistance in blocking financial assets and in counterterrorism investigations.


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