The Federal Police Commission of Ethiopia has indicated that over the past six months it has seized 382 Kalashnikov guns from illegal weapons’ traffickers.
In some instances heavy machine guns, which can be used by groups such as, army have also been captured by the police. This is indicated during a panel discussion organized by the state broadcaster- ETV. The weapons were captured in different parts of the country, including the capital Addis Ababa.
The participants of the panel, which includes participants from the federal police and the recently established Customs Commission, indicated that in addition to Kalashnikov guns and other machine guns, explosives were also seized from the illegal weapon traffickers.
Police report shows that illegal weapons’ trafficking has been growing in Ethiopia over the past three years, mainly due to the instability in some parts of the country.
The mission of illegal weapon traffickers goes beyond making money, but also has a hidden agenda of fueling conflicts in the country to distract the government from the ongoing reform, according to the participants of the panel.
They also stated that the traffickers have been using a very sophisticated means of smuggling the weapons into the country from the neighboring countries, mainly Sudan.
In addition to heavy weapons, recent reports also show that thousands of Turkish made pistols and tens of thousands of bullets were captured from smugglers over the past six months.
Absence of modern weapons’ searching and capturing technology in Ethiopia is often mentioned as one of the challenges the security forces have faced in their fight against illegal arms trafficking.
To address the growing illegal trafficking of weapons and avoid the threat it posed on the country, the Government of Ethiopia has recently drafted a bill, which aims to facilitate proper circulation and handling of weapons by civilians and different government security institutions. The bill is expected to be passed in the coming weeks.