Ethiopia intercepts illegal arms shipment from Sudan

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Xinhua) — Authorities in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state announced on Saturday they’ve intercepted 116 guns and thousands of bullets which were being smuggled to Ethiopia from Sudan.

Aberaraw Yehuala, Chief of West Metema locality police department, West Gonder zone, Amhara regional state, said the illegal arms were intercepted through the coordination of local civilians, regional security forces and the Ethiopian army, reported state media Ethiopia News Agency.

Yehuala further said the arms were intercepted in a three-day period this week, during checks on lorries coming from Sudan and that three drivers have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle the illegal arms to Ethiopia.

Violent anti-government protests in Gonder region of Amhara regional state in July 2016, over a reallocation of a district to the neighboring Tigray regional state two decades ago morphed into an armed confrontation between security forces and armed civilians, leaving several dead from both sides.

Since then, the Ethiopian federal government and Amhara regional state have strengthened checks on vehicles entering into and from Sudan to Gonder region to avoid a repeat of the July 2016 clashes that shocked many Ethiopians.

Ethiopia strictly controls licensing and movement of arms across the country and private arms ownership is relatively rare in the East African country.

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