Police in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa say they’ve caught two suspects red-handed as they attempted to smuggle fifty handguns in the capital on Thursday.The police say they have been on the trail of the suspected smugglers all the way from Bahir Dar city, 570 kilometers north of Addis Ababa to the capital.
The suspects were caught during a transaction at Goro ICT Park last night, according to the police.
Ethiopia’s gun law, ratified last year, prohibits the selling and transfer of any weapon.
An illegal bulk sale of weapons is punishable for up to 15 years imprisonment under the same law.
The seizure of the handguns came as the government stepped up its crackdown on illegal firearms following the declaration of the state of emergency earlier this month.
The government said the declaration is key to warding off the threat posed by the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 2020.
Several illegal firearms, including combat rifles such as AK 47s, and thousands of ammunition had been seized in Legetafo, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa last Monday.
Ethiopian Defense Force uniforms were also some of the items seized, according to the report.
About five suspects linked to the items are in custody.
In a similar development, Addis Ababa police on Sunday disclosed that it has seized illegal firearms and $37,000 in Yeka Sub-city.
It was seized in the Kotebe area after police received tips from the public.
Two AK 47 assault rifles, four handguns and two combat binoculars were among seized items.