The Rising Terrorist Threat in Tanzania: Domestic Islamist Militancy and Regional Threats (Strategic Forum, No. 288, September 2014)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Despite its reputation for peace and stability in a troubled region, the East African country of Tanzania is experiencing a rising number of militant Islamist attacks that have targeted local Christian leaders and foreign tourists, as well as popular bars and restaurants. These attacks, which began in 2012, rarely make the headlines of international media. However, they should serve as a wake-up call for U.S. policymakers to increase short-term engagement with Tanzanian officials and support for Tanzanian security agencies to preempt the emergence of a more significant threat to U.S. and international interests in East Africa. Thus far, the attacks in Tanzania have been relatively unsophisticated. They have involved crude homemade explosives, handguns, and buckets of acid they have been focused on poorly protected targets of opportunity and they have not resulted in mass casualties. However, as events over the past few years in neighboring Kenya have demonstrated, today s seemingly minor and manageable threats can evolve quickly into something far more lethal and intractable. In Kenya, similarly unsophisticated attacks only a few years ago have grown quickly, resulting in the Westgate Mall attack in September 2013, when 4 shooters killed 67 people and wounded 175 more the discovery in March 2014 of a massive car bomb in Mombasa that could have killed scores more and the massacre of more than 60 villagers in Lamu County in June 2014. Events such as these have thrown Kenya into a cycle of violence pitting national security forces against clandestine militant cells.
- Unconventional Warfare