ADDIS ABABA – Customs police in Ethiopia have intercepted goods and foreign banknotes worth 131.48 million birr, officials said on Saturday.
Fifteen suspected smugglers have also been arrested in the week-long crackdown against contraband trade, according to the Ethiopian Customs Commission (EEC).
Unlike previous weeks, more items were captured while they were smuggled out of the nation during the seven-day period.
ECC’s report put the estimated value of the intercepted items at 90.6 million birr.
The remaining nearly 40.8 million birr worth of goods were captured while they were smuggled into Ethiopia.
Custom branches in Moyale, Dire Dawa and Jigjiga managed to capture much of the goods illegally transported into the nation. The branches seized illegal items with an estimated value of 14.7m Birr, 9.7m Birr and 5.1m birr, respectively.
The commission said the operations against contraband trade involved searches at the custom branches and follow ups based on public tip-offs.
The operation required the collaborative effort of customs branches and regional and federal police, it added.
Apart from the 131m worth illegal goods, police also apprehended at least 15 smugglers.
Clothes, petrol, livestock, electronics, coffee, medicine, cars, cosmetics, narcotic drugs, khat, weapons and several amounts of foreign banknotes dominated the list of seized items.
All involved in the fight against contraband trade should continue to step up their effort so as to reduce its negative impact on the country’s economy, the commission urged.
In the first nine months of the current 2021/22FY, customs branches across the nation captured different kinds of contraband goods valued at 3.5 billion birr from smugglers.