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Newsletter: African Terrorism Bulletin Issue 1
1 December 2004

ISS - African Terrorism Bulletin


December 2004 | Issue 001

Welcome to the first edition the African Terrorism Bulletin. The quarterly newsletter is produced by the Organised Crime and Corruption Programme of the Institute for Security Studies. The aim is to provide balanced information, analysis and critical perspectives regarding terrorism and counter-terrorism strategies on the African continent.

  • “Terrorism in the news” will update you on news stories on the subject
  • “State responses” provides information on national and regional efforts to fight terrorism
  • A probing and analytical review will be rendered in the section entitled “Critical Perspectives”.

The information in this and future African Terrorism Bulletins will be based on ‘open source` information. Despite that, commenting on developments relating to terrorism remains a sensitive issue. The Bulletin will endeavour to steer through the different agendas that form part of the discourse on terrorism in a critical and balanced way. Comments and critiques from readers will assist us in remaining on the right path.


AU anti-terrorism center inaugurated
New AU terrorism declaration
Who is behind the Egyptian bombings?
Al Qaeda presence in South Africa?
FATF issues Special Recommendation IX
Costs rise as banks fight terrorist financing and money laundering
Nine-year process to get anti-terror law draws to an end in South Africa
Selebi outlines priorities as Interpol head
Francophone countries aim for compliance with international instruments
African police may receive counter-terrorism training in foreseeable future
SA sets up counter-terrorism center
Human rights `being violated in fight against terrorism`
Anti-terror legislation and democracy in Africa
Initiatives against terrorism in Africa: implications for human rights
African commitments to combating organised crime and terrorism: a review of eight NEPAD countries
Political dissent and terrorism in southern Africa
Unholy alliance? Assessing the links between organised criminals and terrorists in southern Africa



“Terrorism” and its ramifications has been on many people`s lips ever since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Africa itself has witnessed a wide array of terror incidents including domestic, state and international terrorism long before 9/11 ever happened. The embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam/Tanzania and Nairobi/Kenya spring to mind, where 258 people lost their lives, and more than 5000 were injured. Other examples of ‘international` or ‘transnational` terrorism include the simultaneous attacks on the Mombassa-based Paradise Hotel and an Israeli Arkia jetliner and the spate of suicide bombings in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in 2003 and the recent bombings at Egyptian Sinai resort of Taba. As such, Africa may not have witnessed many incidents of international terrorism, but domestic or sub-national terrorism and state terrorism have a long history. Most of the continent suffered from prolonged colonial and state-sponsored violence throughout the 20th and into the 21st century, characterised by little regard for humanitarian law. African people have also been victims of war crimes, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians and conscription of child soldiers. Some insurgent movements and government forces still employ tactics of terror and intimidation. The concept itself has many a negative connotation on the African continent because of the historical precedent.

For the purposes of the first issue, the editorial team deems it necessary to provide its understanding of the highly-disputed concept of ‘terrorism` within the parameters of the newsletter.

The international community has actively sought consensus on the definition of terrorism for many years. Twelve separate international conventions on terrorism have been signed, each covering a specific type of activity linked to terrorism. Despite UN pressure, broad ratification has been difficult to achieve. The task of creating a comprehensive binding international convention against terrorism has proved to be a slow and tiresome process, as all fails when the question of defining terrorism is tackled. A major point of friction is whether terrorism should apply to the actions of states in the same manner that it applies to the actions of non-state actors.

Defining terrorism has been a particularly difficult task on the African continent. In fact, most legal drafters stay clear of defining it but rather describe an ‘act of terror` or ‘terrorist activity`. The 35th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government adopted the Organisation of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (Algiers Convention) in July 1999. With the exception of Zambia and Zimbabwe, all other SADC countries have signed and/or ratified and/or deposited the Algiers Convention. Up to date, 46 of 53 AU member states have signed and 34 have ratified and acceded to the Convention. This seems to indicate a level of consensus on the continent on what state actors consider to be a terrorist act. Hence, the definition of ‘terrorist act` contained in the Algiers Convention shall be employed as the working definition for the newsletter. Thus, ‘terrorist act` relates to:

(a) Any act which is a violation of the criminal laws of a State Party and which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of, or cause serious injury or death to, any person, any number or group of persons or causes or may cause damage to public or private property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage and is calculated or intended to:

(i) intimidate, put in fear, force, coerce or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or any segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act, or to adopt or abandon a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles; or

(ii) disrupt any public service, the delivery of any essential service to the public or to create a public emergency; or

(iii) create general insurrection in a State.

(b) any promotion, sponsoring, contribution to, command, aid, incitement, encouragement, attempt, threat, conspiracy, organizing, or procurement of any person, with the intent to commit any act referred to in paragraph (a) (i) to(iii).

However, it is important to note that state terrorism is not considered in this definition. In fact, the inclusion of state terrorism was a bone of contention among OAU members when the convention was drafted. What differentiates the Algiers Convention from others on terrorism is that in terms of its definition, struggles for national self-determination are not deemed to be terrorist.

Article 3(1) provides:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 1, the struggles waged by peoples in accordance with the principles of international law for their liberation or self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression and domination by foreign forces shall not be considered as terrorist acts. “
Download the Algiers Convention



AU anti-terrorism center inaugurated
October 13 2004 - At the Second High-Level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa held in the Algerian capital Algiers, Abdelaziz Bouteflika formally inaugurated the African Center for the Study and Research of Terrorism. The Algerian president called on all African states to employ tougher measures against terrorism. The newly launched center will be based in Algiers. It is mandated to take tougher anti-terror action by strengthening border control, extradition agreements, intelligence exchanges and the suppression of terrorist financing. A centralised and constantly updated database consisting of information on suspected terrorist groups and individuals, is hoped to improve the capacity of African states to fight terrorism. Another objective is the co-ordination and development of anti-terrorism training programs.
Read the SABC News report
Visit the African Center for the Study and Research of Terrorism

New AU terrorism declaration
The same meeting was also mandated to evaluate the progress made in implementing the 1999 Algiers Convention, its Protocol and the Plan of Action, and to decide on the best possible follow up. A declaration emanating from the meeting reiterates the need for all states to ratify or accede to the Convention and its Protocol. It encourages the co-operation of regional bodies in the prevention and combating of terrorism and urged AU members to strengthen cooperation and partnership with international bodies.
Download the Declaration of the Second High-Level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa



Who is behind the Egyptian bombings?
Both Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have denied any involvement in bomb blasts at Egyptian holiday resorts in early October. At least 28 people lost their lives and more than 100 people were injured in the first terrorist incident in seven years in the North African country. Most of the dead are Israeli nationals. Israeli officials say they suspect Al Qaeda, while Egyptian security officials are investigating newly-formed independent group, which is said to be fighting for a free Palestine. The biggest of the three attacks happened at the Hilton hotel in Taba, situated on Egypt`s border with Israel. Taba is the main crossing point between Israel and Egypt, and popular with Israeli holiday makers. The bombings are the first major attack on Israelis abroad since the bombings two years ago in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.
Read the BBC News report

Al Qaeda presence in South Africa?
Over the past few months the South African and international media has increasingly focused on an alleged presence of the terror network Al Qaeda in South Africa. The news began in late May with dual assertions by the South African National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi that five suspected members of al Qaeda had been deported ahead of the national elections, and that boxes of South African passports had been seized from an al Qaeda-linked house in London. The South African Department of Home Affairs confirmed that the passports were South African, and alleged that they had been obtained by fraudulent means.

The next blow came when two South Africans were arrested in Pakistan after a gun battle, which also led to the arrest of a suspected high-level al Qaeda member, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. Feroze Ganchi and Zubair Ismael were arrested July 25th in the small Pakistani town of Gujrat. Despite initial reports that the pair had designs to attack South African cities, the SA government denied the allegation saying, “no information that any particular installation in South Africa is targeted by al Qaeda,” and reassuring South Africans that they “could sleep easy.” Two other South Africans were arrested in subsequent days, one in the US and one in Mexico, for their alleged ties to al Qaeda.

By late August, South African authorities had finally gained limited consular access to Ganchi and Ismael. Though intelligence confirmed that the men had been in the presence of high-level al Qaeda members, they also concluded that no attacks were planned against South African targets.

In early October, it was alleged that Al Qaeda leaders were hiding in South Africa. An American television news report, citing a CIA report, alleged that South Africa was among the states wherein “second- and third-tier” al Qaeda leaders were hiding. South African police confirmed that they were monitoring individuals “from Cape Town to Durban, from Eastern Cape to several places in Gauteng.”

This news was followed with fears that al Qaeda members may be hiding in, even recruiting from, South Africa`s Islamic theological schools, and a report that the ‘kingpin` of the al Qaeda suspects that were deported prior to the country`s national elections was still at large in Southern Africa. According to some newspaper reports, Ronnie Kasrils, the South African Minister of National Intelligence confirmed al Qaeda`s presence in that country. However, Kasrils was clear that South Africa was not being “overrun” by al Qaeda and warned against a “witch-hunt” within or against the country`s moderate and “stable” Muslim community.

The al Qaeda presence is not confined solely to South Africa, but news reports would indicate that individuals with terrorist affiliations might be operating from elsewhere in the sub-region and beyond. In Malawi, a business executive was investigated by the CIA on allegations that he had been involved in smuggling and terrorist financing. Angolan intelligence authorities say they are on alert after allegations that al Qaeda-linked individuals had entered the country and were establishing business ties. There have also been allegations that Mozambique and Swaziland may be home to al Qaeda elements.

This analysis is based on the reports listed below:

The Namibian, “South Africa Nabs al-Qaeda Operatives”
The Star, “Home Affairs` Link to al Qaeda Confirmed”
BBC News, Key al Qaeda Suspect Arrested
The Star, “ No Need to Panic-govt ”
The Washington Post, “S. African Detained in Texas May Have Terrorist Ties; Woman on Government Watch List Entered U.S. Illegally from Mexico, Was Bound for New York.”
Sunday Times, “SA Pair Met Top al Qaeda Men: Kasrils”
Weekend Sunday Argus, “Al Qaeda Leaders ‘Hiding in SA` ”
Cape Argus, “SA Fears al Qaeda Men Hiding in Local Schools”
The Star, “Kasrils Says CIA Report on al-Qaeda in SA is Nothing New”
Mail & Guardian Online, “SA is Not Being Overrun by Al Qaeda”
Nation Online, “CIA Investigates Malawian Businessman”
Angola Press Agency. “Intelligence Services on Look-Out for Terror”



FATF issues Special Recommendation IX
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has added a ninth recommendation to the existing 8 Special Recommendations dealing with terrorist financing. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the FATF produced eight policy recommendations. These included the call for ratification and implementation of relevant international instruments, the freezing and confiscation of suspected terrorist assets, reporting of suspicious transactions, evaluation of alternative remittances and wire transfers and revision of laws and regulations related to non-profit and charity organisations. The new measure was passed late in October at a meeting held in Paris. It calls on states to stop cross-border movements of currency and monetary instruments related to terrorist financing and money laundering and to confiscate such funds. The recommendation stipulates a limit (of 15 000 US Dollar) for undeclared cash that can be carried across borders. It furthermore proposes control over cash couriers through intervention of national authorities on the basis of intelligence or police information.
Download the FAFT Special Recommendation IX
Download the FATF Eight Special Recommendations on terrorist financing

Costs rise as banks fight terrorist financing and money laundering
October 27 2004 - In a study conducted by auditing firm KPMG, it was found that banks globally have increased their spending on measures to help combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism by over 61%. The KPMG Global Anti-Money Laundering Survey 2004 explores the range of challenges that banking institutions face in complying with enhanced anti-money laundering requirements and how they are responding to the changed environment. South Africa is reported to be in line with developed countries in terms of the amount they are spending, however it still lags behind countries such as the US in combating the financing of terrorism.
Read the Business Day report at AllAfrica
Download the KPMG Global Anti-Money Laundering Survey 2004

Nine-year process to get anti-terror law draws to an end in South Africa
November 11 2004 - All that is outstanding in the long and cumbersome process of getting South Africa`s anti-terror legislation in place, is President Thabo Mbeki`s signature. The Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Bill has been nine years in the making. Getting the legislation passed gained momentum in government circles after the attacks on New York`s Twin Towers.South African lawmakers have passed anti-terror legislation in both houses of parliament. However, many civil society actors remain unhappy with the legislation. Preceding the national elections in April, the draft bill was put on hold, as trade unionist organisation Cosatu and others were concerned with certain clauses. While many restrictive clauses have been removed, including one classifying strike activity as terrorism, the legislation still contains controversial clauses. These include the obligation of citizens to report “as soon as possible” the presence of people suspected of committing a terrorist act. Failing this, citizens are liable for an offence under the bill. The bill also creates a host of new offences and penalties as set out by twelve United Nations and African Union Conventions.
Download the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Act
Read the Daily News report at IOL
Read the report in the Dispatch

Selebi outlines priorities as Interpol head
October 12 2004 - Jackie Selebi, South Africa`s national police commissioner has been appointed the first African President of Interpol. He has been the international poling body`s vice-president since 2002. One of his priorities is the transfer of resources to weaker countries. This includes the establishment of a center in Africa to pool information on international terrorism. African member states will be linked to Interpol`s internal communication system within the next six months. He also looks to streamline anti-terror legislation and expand the membership of the international policing body to include more African states.
Read the BuaNews report at AllAfrica
Read the Sapa report at News24

Francophone countries aim for compliance with international instruments
27 October 2004 - The Ministers of Justice from across Africa`s French-speaking states adopted the Port-Louis Declaration on 27 October 2004.The document reiterates the countries` commitment to cooperate in transnational crime-fighting and to accede to the relevant international conventions. These include all twelve universal instruments against terrorism as well as the United Nations Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption. The Ministers also approved a legislative guide to assist in the implementation of the terrorism instruments.
More information from the United Nations Information Service

African police may receive counter-terrorism training in foreseeable future
23 September 2004 - A ‘Commonwealth Workshop on Capacity-Building to Combat Terrorism` was held in Nairobi, from the 20th to the 24th of September, to train prosecutors and law enforcement officials from Africa on improving their capacity to fight terrorism. The third in a series of workshops was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat`s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division. Following the workshop was a consultative meeting with the heads of police training colleges to discuss ways of introducing a counter-terrorism training program into the curricula of police training institutions.
Read more about the workshop at the Commonwealth Secretariat

SA sets up counter-terrorism center
October 24 2004 - Meanwhile, South African Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils has announced the establishment of a National Counter-Terrorism Center. This is partly in response to the alleged al Qaeda presence in South Africa, and in an effort to comply with African Union policy, the center is intended to collate and co-ordinate information on terrorism. It will be staffed by the National Intelligence Agency, the SA Secret Service, the SA Police Service`s Crime Intelligence Division, Defence Intelligence and the Financial Intelligence Center.
Read the report from the Sunday Independent at IOL
Read the Business Day report at AllAfrica



Human rights `being violated in fight against terrorism`
October 22 2004 - African human rights activists have highlighted the swell of human rights violations that occur as a direct result of the international fight against terrorism. The activists, who gathered for a National Human Rights Institutions forum organised by the African Union (AU) were alarmed about the frequency and the proportions of human rights violations in many African countries since the war on terrorism was launched. It was reported that innocent people are detained under the banner of being terror suspects. Participants were concerned that new terror laws would undermine the rule of law and basic human rights obligations as set out by the countries` constitutions. Only 20 of the 52 AU member states have national human rights institutions in their countries.

In a communique presented to the AU, the activists called on national human rights institutions to monitor their government`s actions as to prevent further erosion of human rights in the fight against terrorism. AU members that have not established national human rights institutions yet, were urged to kicks-start the process, mindful that the institutions should be should be rooted within the country`s constitution, yet fully independent and adequately funded. It also requests that the AU set up a bi-annual conference of national human rights institutions.
Read the report from the Daily Monitor at AllAfrica

Anti-terror legislation and democracy in Africa
Rotimi Sankore, a N igerian human rights campaigner and co-ordinator of the Credo for Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights notes that ever since the war on terror began, the protection of basic human rights had suffered worldwide. According to the author, this was of particular concern on the African continent, where the introduction of anti-terror legislation could potentially undermine fledgling democracies. She notes that corrupt, undemocratic and insecure government could garner the support of the West by introducing anti-terror legislation. This legislation may suppress or undermine both democratic opposition and human rights. N igeria, for example, sought to revive the notorious Anti-Terrorist Squad that had been set up by the dictator General Sanni Abacha. In all its years of existence, not a single terrorist was arrested or prosecuted. Instead it was used to terrorise the media, human rights community, the pro-democracy movement and other enemies of the state. The author lists a few other examples that illustrate the erosion of human rights consideration with regards to the introduction of anti-terror measures. Sankore holds that though an unpopular thought, it would be detrimental to sacrifice democracy in Africa on the altar of “eradicating Bin Laden and Al Qaeda”. She concludes that the only way to defeat and keep terrorism and its sympathisers out of Africa was to strengthen not to weaken democratic governance.
Read the report at the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace

Initiatives against terrorism in Africa: implications for human rights
Charles Goredema notes in this paper that the Algiers Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism acknowledges a potential friction between anti-terrorism legal instruments and the protection of human rights. In light of this, the paper suggests that the ultimate containment of terrorism and the achievement of human rights should be complimentary aspirations. It highlights the difficulties for state actors to reconcile the demands of anti-terrorism policy objectives with constitutionally enshrined human rights obligations. The paper draws on recent SADC initiatives and renders comparative references to other regions in which conditions similar to those in the SADC sub-region exist.
Read the full report on the ISS website



African commitments to combating organised crime and terrorism: a review of eight NEPAD countries
By Charles Goredema and Anneli Botha
This review considers the commitments to preventing and combating organised crime and terrorism by Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, N igeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. The paper forms part of the outputs of the African Human Security Initiative (AHSI), a network of seven African non-governmental research organisations. AHSI aims to measure the performance of key African governments in promoting human security.
Read the review on the African Human Security Initiative website

Political dissent and terrorism in southern Africa
By Anneli Botha
The paper asks why political groups that employ legitimate forms of political dissent, ultimately may resort to strategies of violence and terror. The author aims to contribute to a better understanding of the nature and role of political dissent in a democracy and of how the state should respond to its various manifestations.
Read the paper on the ISS website

Unholy alliance? Assessing the links between organised criminals and terrorists in southern Africa
By Annette Hà¼bschle
The structural, economic, social and political weaknesses in the Southern African sub-region, combined with well-organised and firmly entrenched criminal networks, would suggest that linkages between organised crime and terrorism are plausible. The seven case studies discussed in the paper fail to establish a clear linkage.
Read the paper on the ISS website

Please inform us of upcoming terrorism meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences, publications and other developments



The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is an applied policy non-profit research organisation with a focus on human security issues on the African continent.

This newsletter is produced by the Terrorism in Africa component which is located within the ISS Organised Crime and Corruption programme in Cape Town and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD).



Annette Hà¼bschle (Researcher: Terrorism and Organised Crime) -
Anneli Botha (Senior Researcher: Terrorism)
Nokuthula Mpala (ISS Research Intern)
Michael Rifer (ISS Research Intern)
Pilisa Gaushe (ISS Resource Center Manager)

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