Last updated: 25 January, 2013

Arms from Turkey found in Yemen

The authorities in Yemen have seized a shipment of assault rifles at the southern port of Aden that originated from Turkey, the second in the same month, state media reported.

Among the weapons discovered in a container were “115 T14 Turkish-made assault rifles,” state news agency Saba quoted Aden customs chief Mohammed Zumam as saying.

He said a total of 3,780 automatic rifles were found in the container, labelled as plastic household items, that arrived in the port from Turkey on November 16 last year.

Zumam did not name the sender or recipient of the shipment.

At the beginning of November, the Yemeni defence ministry said a cargo of weapons found in boxes used for biscuits and originating in Turkey had been seized in Aden.

Ankara said afterwards that it had never authorised sending arms to Yemen.

“We certainly have not authorised such a shipment of weapons. It is not thinkable to OK such arms exports to countries where conflict risks are high and where it could result in more deaths,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Yemen is already awash with guns.

The impoverished nation is prey to attacks in the east and south blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, that have become more frequent in the wake of a 2011 popular uprising that ousted veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.