January 4, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Addis Ababa said frustrated by the failure of the Sudanese authorities to curb the continued arms smuggling into Ethiopia through its border and warned it may negatively impact bilateral relations.
During the last year 2018, the Ethiopian government announced several times the seizure of hundreds of guns and pistols as well as ammunition through the Amhara region which borders the Blue Nile state of Sudan.
In May 2018, the Ethiopian police said they captured 116 guns and thousands of bullets. Also, in October it seized 481 pistols and 13,000 bullets. The herders and farmers
In a biannual report to the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives on Tuesday 29 January, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu told the lawmakers that his government raised with the Sudanese authorities the need to enhance border control operations to prevent increasing arms smuggling from its territory.
The Ethiopian government "has clearly informed the Sudanese President, Omer al-Bashir, and his respective ministers that the Sudanese government should take the concern of Ethiopia very seriously; and take in to account how this uncontrolled arms trafficking would affect the stability and security of Ethiopia," said Gebeyehu according to the Reporter weekly newspaper of 2 February.
"We have informed the [Sudanese officials] that they should tighten their border control in their part to deter smuggling. We have clearly informed them that, otherwise, this will eventually lead to the cutting or impacting of diplomatic ties or relations," he further stressed.
The pastoral and intercommunal conflicts in Ethiopia have created a lucrative market for arms traffickers. Further, the authorities in Addis Ababa fear that the existing networks may be used by armed groups to smuggle heavy weapons.
The Ethiopian minister said the two countries identified people who are behind the arms trafficking and how they proceed.
Furthermore, he said they identified the arms manufacturer and discussed the matter with him. But he refrained from giving the name or the country where it is located.
In August 2018, the two countries agreed to establish a joint border force to combat security threats and prevent all negative activities on the border. It is not clear if effective steps have been taken towards its deployment.
Ethiopia has good bilateral relations with Sudan. However, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seems more inclined to boot relations with Eritrea, Djibouti and Somali than Sudan.