A shipment of rifles and ammunition, that was held by Sudanese customs authorities at Khartoum airport on Saturday night, has been released to a legitimate arms trader for whom the shipment was intended, after it was assured that there was no indication of a legal violation. The shipment was initially seized amid concerns that the arms might be intended for counterrevolutionaries loyal to the deposed Al Bashir regime.
According to a statement from the Ministry of the Interior, the procedures for clearance of the arms shipment that arrived on board an Ethiopian Airlines commercial flight are in place, after the validity and legality of the shipment procedures were verified. , stressing that it belongs to a weapon supplier.
The press office said in a statement that the shipment, which arrived at Khartoum airport on Saturday, contains 73 boxes with ‘hunting’ rifles, and 290 packages of .223 calibre ammunition. It transpires, according to the statement, that the shipment belongs to supplier Wael Shamseldin, who is an arms trader, “has a valid arms trade license issued by the General Department of Criminal Investigation and Investigations, and is committed to regularly renewing his license annually”.
The statement confirmed that the shipment had been held by Ethiopian Airlines since May 2019, and confirmed noted that the Empowerment Removal Prosecution sent a letter to the Khartoum Airport Customs Department to seize the contents as a precaution. The office said that “the customs administration released the shipment after it was assured that there was no indication of a legal violation”.
The Ethiopian Embassy in Khartoum confirmed that the shipment in question had been transported and delivered via Ethiopian Airlines following the necessary legal procedures, with the prior knowledge and approval of the relevant Sudanese authorities including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement, the embassy expressed its readiness to provide the necessary documents and correspondence that prove the exact arrangement of the facts for all concerned parties.
Ethiopian Airlines confirmed that the arms shipment was being held in Addis Ababa, and it was sent to Sudan, after its owner filed a lawsuit. It said that the mentioned weapons were hunting rifles within a legal shipment.