On October 24-25, American officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States visited Maseru to provide specialized training at the U.S. Embassy for thirty-six members of the security sector. The training was focused on providing theoretical and practical knowledge to help law enforcement and civilian investigators from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), the National Security Service (NSS), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offenses (DCEO) understand current practice and trends in global terrorism. Topics included indicators of radicalization, social media exploitation, financial intelligence, emerging trends and partnerships, terrorist financing investigations, and the intelligence cycle.
As the Government of Lesotho’s long-standing and steadfast diplomatic partner, the United States is eager to support the country as it pursues a comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent reforms process. This training is one of numerous initiatives from the U.S. Embassy in Maseru tailored to address specific needs within the law enforcement sector as well as support overall institutional reform efforts in the security sector as part of the national reforms process. The training also focused on the Embassy’s goal to increase cooperation and information sharing amongst Lesotho’s security sector agencies.
Recent law enforcement training in Maseru and the United States has focused on border security, community policing, and global threat cooperation, among other topics. In 2018, the United States Secret Service conducted a successful training program on cybersecurity and detecting counterfeit currency and ATM fraud. The United States regularly identifies and sends representatives of Lesotho’s law enforcement community and supporting civilian agencies to training opportunities at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. Thus far in 2019, 49 Basotho have attended; 36 Basotho participated in 2018. ILEA’s mission is to buttress democratic governance, through the rule of law, enhance the functioning of free markets through improved legislation, and law enforcement; and increase social, political, and economic stability by combating narcotics trafficking and crime. ILEA is a U.S-funded program with in-kind contributions via the Government of Botswana partnership.
The current training is being offered by representatives from the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Justice and is a full member of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The FBI has the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes assigned to it and to provide other law enforcement agencies with cooperative services, such as fingerprint identification, laboratory examinations, and training. The FBI also gathers, shares, and analyzes intelligence, both to support its own investigations and those of its partners and to better understand and combat the security threats facing the United States.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, the FBI has 56 field offices and more than 350 resident agencies across the United States. It also provides direction and support to more than 60 liaison offices known as legal attachés at U.S. Embassies around the world. The Office of the Legal Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa works closely with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Maseru to provide training and support where appropriate to relevant security sector agencies in Lesotho.