Some nineteen Ethiopian children who were victims of the cattle raid carried out by South Sudanese gunmen in western Ethiopia have been released.
The government of Ethiopia announced on Tuesday that 19 of the supposed 108 children who were kidnapped by the South Sudanese gunmen on April 15 have returned. The government also added that Negotiations are ongoing to secure the release of the other Ethiopian children who were abducted.
“There was no fighting,” Ethiopian government spokesperson Getachew Reda said. He also added that the South Sudanese government has been cooperative in finding the children and ensuring their release.
“There’s been effort on the part of South Sudan to locate the children and work with tribal leaders to free them,” he added.
“We hope the [other] children will be brought back safely and without a need for a fight, but Ethiopian forces will continue to make every effort including taking military action if necessary.”
On April 15 some South Sudanese Gunmen attacked the region of Gambella in western Ethiopia trying to rustle some cattle from the Gambella people but this later turned violent, causing the capture of over 100 children and the death of about 208 Gambella inhabitants.
A few days short of the attack, the Ethiopian army had crossed the border, having located were the abducted children were and assured Ethiopians that the kidnapped children will be returned safely.
Ethiopian officials still insist South Sudanese rebels are not responsible for the attack, but rather blamed the Murle tribesmen who are usually responsible for attacks in Gambella region. The Murle tribesmen usually aim at the Nuer tribe, one of the two dominant tribes in South Sudan who are positioned on both sides of the border
The Gambella mascare was however different due to the staggering amount of casualties that’s unusual in the frequent cattle raids that occur in this region.