On 25th of June 2018, American Troops, a small contingent of Special Forces serving as military operations advisors and Operations commanders in Somalia, killed a Tanzanian jihadist fighting for the Al-Qaeda affiliate Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Movement, an extremist terrorist group seeking to establish an extremist Islamic law (sharia) in Somalia. The killing of the Tanzanian terrorist is of significance to counter-extremism operations, particularly the intelligence.
Backed by the Somali National Army SNA, the joint task-force attacked the extremists’ positions at Arare village some seven kilometers from Jamaame, north of the strategic sea port of Kismayo in Lower Juba Region of Somalia, killing 7 militants including the Tanzanian fighter. The Troops seized Arare Bridge, a strategic crossing point over River Juba north of Port Kismayo.
Perspective on Tanzanian Extremists
- The death of a Tanzanian fighter in the extremist’s rank and file confirms presence of a significant number of foreign fighters from the South of East Africa in Somalia.
- S.I Intelligence has been tracking Tanzanian jihadists’ exodus to Somalia since 2010 when the extremist group escalated its recruitment drive in East Africa. Tanzania has been a good hunting ground for recruits. Between the period of 2014 and 2017 Tanzanian cyberspace became a robust recruitment ground for the Somali Islamists. In the same period, dozens of those recruited were killed in Somalia by the terror group over spying accusations.
- In 2013, Tanzanians formed the largest number of Al-Shabaab terror group foreign fighters. The country experienced an increase in violent Islamist-related activity in 2015. In one year alone, security agencies rescued 103 persons from the recruiters. 53 of those rescued were children 32 others were women, while the rest were youths. The terrorist group has sleeper and dormant cells concentrated in the eastern regions of Morogoro, Pwani, and Tanga.
- The death of the Tanzanian is a stark reminder, no religious extremist terrorist organization has won or formed a government in the 21st century.