Ethiopian troops deep in South Sudan to rescue 125 kids

2016-04-21 19:58
Western border area of Ethiopia. (GoogleMaps)

Western border area of Ethiopia. (GoogleMaps)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jiba - Ethiopian troops were operating in South Sudan on Thursday after crossing the border to rescue some 125 Ethiopian children who were kidnapped during a bloody cattle raid, and top officials from both countries sought to co-ordinate their efforts.

Peter Bashir Gbandi, acting South Sudanese foreign affairs minister, said South Sudan Chief of Staff Paul Malong would go to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, as soon as Friday to co-ordinate. Bashir told The Associated Press that South Sudan does not want Ethiopian troops to go deeper into South Sudan. He said the South Sudanese army has no forces in the area but has put troops on standby.

He would not answer directly if South Sudan gave permission to Ethiopia to enter but insisted, "we are in touch." He said he did know who was responsible for the attack in Ethiopia and added that the area "is full of jungle. These are criminals." Officials in both countries said there was no tension between the neighbouring states.

South Sudanese local leaders, meanwhile, traded accusations over who was responsible. Ethiopia's government said the April 15 raid in its Gambela region resulted in deaths of 208 people. Ethiopia announced Wednesday its military entered South Sudan and surrounded the attackers, believed to Murle tribesmen who abducted 125 children.

Local media in Ethiopia reported the Murle wanted the children to raise the 2 000 head of cattle the tribal members stole.

South Sudan's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Akuei Bona Malwal, told AP that Ethiopia and South Sudan are coordinating their actions to solve the crisis but declined to give details about "joint tasks" which he said the two countries are currently carrying out.

Baba Medan, the governor of South Sudan's Boma state, where Murle and other groups live, said dissident members of the Cobra faction were responsible. The Cobra was a rebel militia comprising Murle and Anyuak tribes which signed a peace deal with South Sudan's government in 2013 and has been integrated into the national army.

David Yau Yau, who led the Cobra rebellion, denied any involvement of his former troops and accused the governor, a Murle who was allied with the government against Yau Yau during the rebellion, of arming the groups that carried out the attack in Ethiopia.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir called Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Wednesday to express condolences, according to Bashir.

It was unclear how many Ethiopian soldiers entered South Sudan or what kind of weapons they brought. The Murle, like many groups in South Sudan, are usually armed with light weapons like AK-47 assault rifles. The conflict area is a lowland with thick bush which turns swampy in the rains. It is currently the dry season, making mobility easier.

The Murle are viewed with suspicion by Dinka and Nuer, the other two dominant tribes in in that area of South Sudan, and are often blamed for cattle raids and abductions of children.

Read more on:    etiopia  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.