Nineteen accused of illegal weapons sale as gun imports continue to rise

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The Attorney General’s, Economic Crimes Department pressed 19 charges against 18 people for illegal weapons dealing. The Ministry of Revenue confiscated 60,094 guns, 161,695 bullets, nine heavy machine guns, five shotguns, and two bandoleers (belts used to carry ammunition).
Solomon W/Yohanes was one of the suspects. He allegedly sold 1,051 guns, 25,669 gun bullets, and 8,704 shotgun bullets illegally. He was denied bail and is currently in prison. A man named Seid Jemal was also charged with illegally trading 234 guns and 16,988 bullets. The police will decide if he is granted bail. Mohamed Abdurahman was released on a 60,000 birr bail bond. He is charged with illegally dealing 50 guns.
The guns and bullets came from Turkey, Russia, Syria, and Egypt. There are 92 custom check points in Ethiopia but Metema and Togochale are the main gateways for guns according to the Customs Commission.
In the past two years gun imports have rapidly increased. The weapons are made in countries outside Africa but they come to Ethiopia, primarily, from neighboring Sudan and Somalia.
The recent price for a manual gun on the international market lies between 6,670 to 16,000 birr.
The Office of the Attorney General is enacting a new law to regulate firearms and other weapons guns, knives, Tasers, tear gas (pepper spray), and hydrogen cyanide commonly used for self-defense. But arms like heavy machine guns are not regulated by the new law. This is because they are not permitted for self-defense.
The new law will mandate the same penalties for illegal firearms dealing, selling or using. The bill proposed up to three years simple imprisonment and a fine up to 10,000 birr for anyone who stores, uses, receives, shows, transfers, disposes or maintains illegal weapons.
Anyone who exports, imports, deals, sells, manufactures, hides or stores illegal weapons will face rigorous imprisonment up to 10 year and a fine from 10,000 birr up to 100,000 birr, according to the draft bill. The bill proposes simple imprisonment up to three years for anyone who refuses to cooperate with security forces.
One idea being proposed is to have legal gun shops or designated location for gun sales. The Ministry of Peace will be tasked, through a new bill, to oversee government institutions who import or use guns or train others to handle weapons.