The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) has warned that Botswana faces a clear and present danger of terrorism as suspected terrorists have been coming in and out of Botswana.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Directorate on Security and Intelligence Services (DISS) Director General Isaac Kgosi said the situation may get worse after the Kenyan government recently announced plans to close the refugee camp in Kenya.
Kgosi said more terrorists are expected to come to Botswana masquerading as asylum seekers. He told the PAC that in the last two weeks, they have been receiving information about a group of people who are coming to Botswana.” By a group of people, the DISS boss is believed to be referring to suspected terrorists.
“In the last two weeks we were informed about a group of about 250 people in number who were en-route to Botswana and who knows, these are people who come here and stay within ourselves and once they are here they will do whatever they want to do. These are issues that we are looking at as intelligence community to find ways of fighting them,” he said.
┬áThe DCEC two years ago rounded up and arrested 28 Somali refugees on suspicions that they were linked to terrorist organisations. A series of sweeps across Francistown and Dukwi, a refugee camp, netted scores of Somali car dealers and their compatriots suspected to be smuggling operatives.
They arrested most of them in Block One location in Francistown while others were arrested at Dukwi Refugee Camp.
Suspicion was that some of the money being collected as ransom by Somali pirates was laundered through a network of Somali-owned used car sellers that were mushrooming in Botswana.
Although the allegations against the 28 suspects could not be established, indications were that some of them were illegal immigrants and a number of them had allegedly confessed to having links to terrorist groups.
Botswana’s security agents searched a number of garages and were focusing on suspicious properties across Francistown.
Presenting before the PAC, Kgosi also disclosed that a group of local and foreign criminals were extorting “huge amounts of money” from Batswana, claiming to be DISS agents.
“It is unfortunate that the DISS seems to be a monstrous organisation to some of Batswana to the extent that when I see you and demand that you pay me this much because I am a DISS officer immediately such payments are made,” he said.
He said his department was able to arrest some of the perpetrators while some managed to escape and skip the country. Kgosi further stated that the DISS was involved in fighting, drugs, contraband tobacco and smuggling of vehicles.