Yemen has ordered the confiscation of all firearms in the possession of its citizens after canceling weapons' licenses not carrying the Interior Minister's signature.
Some 50 million firearms are thought to be in the possession of Yemen's estimated 23 million people.
The minister, Gen. Mouthar al-Masri, Tuesday ordered checkpoints and security patrols across the impoverished Arab nation to confiscate any weapons they come across.
Possessing a firearm is a rite of passage for most Yemeni males and it will be virtually impossible to enforce the ban, the latest attempt by authorities to try to curtail the spread of illegal weapons.
The latest ban comes at a time when al-Qaida militants are stepping up attacks against Yemeni security forces.