ADDIS ABABA – Two suspects were arrested on Wednesday after Addis Ababa Police caught them, red-handed, with fifty illegal handguns.
The city administration’s Press Secretary Office said the firearms were trafficked by a truck from Bahir Dar city, the capital of Amhara regional State.
Security officers, who have been following up the case, apprehended the person who brought the guns and the recipient while exchanging the firearms around Goro ICT Park last night.
Ethiopia’s Gun Law, ratified last year, prohibits selling and transferring of any weapon. Illegal bulk sales of weapons is punishable for up to 15 years imprisonment under the same law.
‘Crackdown On illicit firearms’
Authorities have stepped up their crackdown on illegal firearms following the declaration of the state of emergency in Ethiopia earlier this month.
The government said the declaration is key to ward-off the threat posed on Ethiopia’s constitutional order posed by TELF – a group designated as terrorist by the Parliament earlier this year.
Among other things, the emergency law bans moving around with firearms without permission from relevant security offices and allows security offices to search persons suspected of having a link with the terrorists.
So far, The police said searches conducted with the help of the public are leading to the capture of illegal weapons and bullets.
On the same day police apprehended the two suspects with the 50 fire arms, more than 1,800 bullets during a search in a warehouse located in the premise of the Holy Synod Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Arat Kilo.
A suspect linked to the case is currently in police custody after the police seized the bullets after a tip-off from the public, said the police.
“The terrorist group is known for stockpiling various weapons in religious institutions and carry out attacks on innocent people using individuals under the guise of religion,” Addis Ababa police said on Thursday. “The public have already understood this and are helping the police’s response”.