Ethiopia arrests Al-Shabaab militants smuggling weapons from Somalia

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ADDIS ABABA - The federal government of Ethiopia has arrested Al-shabaab militants smuggling sophisticated weapons to the country, from the neighboring Somalia, police said, amid escalating insecurity in the Horn of Africa nation, which is struggling with instability.

Special forces from Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia nabbed the militants who were attempting to cross over the border from Somalia's Gedo region, where Al-shabaab has been a little bit dominant in the last couple of months.

State media EBC noted that the Al-Shabaab militants were arrested im Afdere zone, Elkere District, and Bula Kebele. They were planning to carry out terrorist activity, it was said. The planned targets were in the region, state media added.

Some of the weapons that were seized include18 boxes of AK-47 ammunition, six RPGs, and two machine guns were seized from the suspects. It's not clear who was their major target but the militants have rarely attacked Ethiopia, which shares largest border with Somalia.

Last month, authorities in Ethiopia announced that it had arrested 34 Al-shabaab militants who had planned a major attack within the country. Some of the targeted areas were the capital Addis Ababa, Oromia region and Somali region commonly known as Ogaden.

Ethiopia has recently been experiencing challenges in relation to religious violence and the Ethiopian government has been claiming that enemies to the Ethiopian state have been attempting to exploit religion as a cover to bring about prevalent religious violence in the country.

Also, the country is facing unending conflict in Tigray region, which has left thousands of people dead and millions of others displaced. The conflict pits Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's administration and authorities from Tigray region who bear sharp political differences with Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is one of the troops contributing nations to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] and has close to 4,500 soldiers in the Horn of Africa nation. The ATMIS troops have been fundamental in the fight against Al-shabaab.

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] man sections of Sector III and VI of ATMIS mainly in Southwest and Jubaland states. Ethiopia had pledged to wipe out the militants in the coming months as the AU forces prepare for inevitable exit from the Horn of Africa nation.

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