Monday, October 25, 2021

DISS recruits 200 soldiers, 200 police officers for counter-terrorism

Following the passing of the Counter-Terrorism Act by parliament in 2014, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), has kick-started recruitment of personnel to man the newly established Counter-Terrorism Analysis and Fusion Agency under the DISS. Sunday Standard is reliably informed that the DISS is currently busy setting up the counter-terrorism agency and is looking to recruit 200 soldiers from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and 200 police officers from the Botswana Police Services (BPS). Sunday Standard can confirm that some police officers and soldiers have already joined the agency and are currently on a three-month training outside the country. The DISS recruitment drive is however reported to have received a cold shoulder from some police officers especially at the Gaborone West Police Station who are said to have turned down the lucrative offer from the spy agency. The Counter-Terrorism Act was presented to parliament by former Minister of Justice, Defence and Security Ramadeluka Seretse in 2014 and the justification for its formulation was that it sought to prevent and combat acts of terrorism, including financing of terrorism. At the time, Seretse had told parliament that the counter terrorism legislation would among others assist the country to develop and implement a national counter terrorism strategy and national action plan. “The implementation of this legislation will be interrelated to other security legislation such as the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill, Chemical Weapons Prohibition Bill and Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Bill, which have already been passed in the current sitting of this Parliament”, said Seretse during the second reading of the bill in parliament in July 2014.

Seretse had also assured parliament that Botswana fully abided by the obligation of all the Anti-Terrorism Conventions that she has ratified particularly the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1371 (2001) which mandates all members states to legislate and establish effective structures to combat terrorism and financing terrorism. Among the MP’s who supported the formation of the agency was Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo who said the piece of legislature was important to spell out Botswana’s position on terrorism especially money laundering and financing terrorism. Though it took two years for the DISS to setup the agency, Mahalapye East MP Botlogile Tshireletso had at the time warned that the legislation had to be enacted hastily as most countries that are experiencing acts of terror were once peaceful like Botswana. When he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last year, DISS Director General Isaac Kgosi warned that Botswana faces a clear and present danger of terrorism as suspected terrorists have been coming in and out of Botswana.

Kgosi had said more terrorists were expected to come to Botswana masquerading as asylum seekers. He told the PAC that his organisation had been receiving information about “a group of people” who are coming to Botswana

“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,” Kgosi said during his deliberation to the PAC last year. Asked on whether the DISS was recruiting police officers individually or through the Police management, Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Witness Boseja said only the Office of the President was best suited to respond to our enquiries. Government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay however said he was “not hundred percent sure” on whether the DISS has started recruitment for the counter-terrorism agency. He said the DISS was better placed to give answers. However, several attempts to get comment from DISS boss Isaac Kgosi were futile as his mobile phone rang unanswered for two consecutive days, as was BDF’s spokesperson Colonel Dikole whose direct landline also went unanswered.

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