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Paraguay Suspends Arms Imports in Bid to Stop Illegal Trafficking

Picture of guns seized by police forces during various criminal investigations over the last ten years, taken before being destroyed at a military base in Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 20, 2017.

Paraguay has issued an open-ended suspension of arms and ammunition imports in a bid to fight illegal trafficking across the border into neighboring Brazil, the head of the National Directorate of War Material told Reuters on Tuesday.

The directorate will use the suspension period to update computer programs it uses and improve coordination with Paraguayan and Brazilian law enforcement agencies, directorate chief Enrique Caballero said.

“We want to provide traceability,” he said. “The illicit market is our concern and we must increase efforts at stopping that.”

Part of the concern is that some of the weapons that legally enter Paraguay may be sold to criminal gangs in Brazil. Caballero did not provide data on the volume of Paraguay's legal weapons imports. He declined to confirm media reports that the United States suspended the sale of arms to Paraguay because of concerns about controls at the borders with Brazil.