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The Rising Terrorist Threat in Tanzania: Domestic Islamist Militancy and Regional Threats

By Andre LeSage | Strategic Forum 288 | September 01, 2014

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Key Points

  • The growing number of militant Islamist attacks in Tanzania demonstrates a nascent terrorist threat that can undermine peace and stability in yet another East African country.
  • Local and regional dynamics— including foreign fighters returning from Somalia, disputes over the Zanzibar islands, and national elections in 2015—could create a “perfect storm” that would exacerbate the threat. 
  • If its issues remain unaddressed, Tanzania is likely to experience the same security trends as Kenya, where, with the help of external support, local capabilities have been developed to conduct increasingly deadly attacks that affect U.S. and other foreign interests. 
  • In response, the United States needs to focus policy-level attention on the situation in Tanzania and invest additional intelligence, law enforcement, and strategic communications efforts to combat the spread of violent extremism.
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