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Cablegate: Mauritius: 2008 Country Report On Terrorism

R 221204Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4337
INFO NCTC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000447


S/CT FOR RHONDA SHORE AND NCTC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC MP
SUBJECT: MAURITIUS: 2008 COUNTRY REPORT ON TERRORISM

REF: STATE 120019


The following is a reftel response updating the Country
Report on Terrorism for Mauritius:

---------
MAURITIUS
---------

In November 2008 Mauritian Prime Minister Rangoulam announced
before Parliament a series of planned security upgrades to
ports and airports in an unprecedented push to prevent
terrorism in Mauritius. The airport measures are to include
upgrades of the existing x-ray machines and the installation
of two new units, the linking of Customs, Passport, and
Immigration Services databases, a 100 percent screening of
hold baggage at the airport, and the installation of an
Advanced Passenger Information (API) system. Mauritius is
even developing a Terror Alert Color Code System in
accordance with international practices. Due to limited
available resources to cover its shores and waterways,
Mauritius has traditionally had problems controlling land
access, especially by small boats. To combat this problem,
Mauritius has fortified its Port security measures by
strengthening access controls through an enhanced
identification system, updated Closed Circuit Television
Systems, and an increased number of police and customs
officers.

Mauritius' goal of being a port where 100 percent of entering
cargo is scanned and its Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement
with the USG have prompted progress on the Mauritian Cargo
Community System (CCS) project. The CCS project aims to
collect, organize, and provide advance electronic information
on cargo and container shipments to ensure adequate risk
assessment. The progress on this project has led to a
continuous increase in the percentage of containers scanned.

Mauritius has a comprehensive and growing antiterrorism
legislative framework based on "The Prevention of Terrorism
Act of 2002," which criminalizes terrorist financing and
gives the government the power to track and investigate
terrorist-related assets. The Mauritian parliament is
currently considering updating this legislation with "The
Prevention of Terrorism (Internal Obligations) Bill."

In November 2008, Mauritius established an Anti-Terrorism
Unit that includes the Commissioner of Police, the Commander
of the National Guard, and the Head of the Interior Affairs
Ministry. The new unit is currently headed by the Mauritian
National Security Adviser, Gurinder Singh, an Indian national
who previously supervised anti-terrorist units in India.

Additionally, in December of 2008, Mauritius implemented a
new Border Control System that enables more effective
controls over travel documents. Before the implementation of
the new system, Mauritian Customs officials had caught 20
travelers using false passports. While most of these
individuals were simply released and sent out of the country,
in November 2008, Customs officials caught six Iraqis on
their way to Australia using false Danish passports. The
Iraqis are currently being held until the Mauritian
authorities are able to verify their identities.

Although there is currently no evidence of any type of
terrorist activity, press reports accused Mauritian group
Front Solidarite Mauricienne (FSM), also called Hizbullah by
local press, of operating a 'death squad' blamed for three
killings in October 1996. During investigation of these
murders, the police charged and imprisoned the leader of this
organization for three years, but due to lack of evidence the
case was eventually dropped. Today, the leader of the FSM
focuses on arranging funds from charities for schools and
hospitals in the Muslim community. The government of
Mauritius is well aware that organizations who accept charity
funds could be susceptible to terrorist financing, and
monitors these types of activities accordingly.


CABRERA

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