Ethiopia, 200 people have been killed on the border with South Sudan

Armed groups coming from South Sudan have attacked a village massacring and abducting hundreds of civilians in the Gambatella Region, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian forces have launched a counter offensive aimed at freeing over 100 women and children that had been kidnapped in a raid in the Gambella Regional State, Ethiopia, on the border with South Sudan. According to Addis Ababa’s governmental sources, the “heavily armed group” – coming from the neighbouring country – also killed 200 people.



During a speech – broadcasted by state television – about what media already call “the Gambella Massacre”, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has accused the Murle tribe, which comes from South Sudan and has already been denounced for cattle raids in the same area in the past. The head of state announced that he asked Juba’s authorities for the authorisation of conducting an operation within its national borders. Desalegn has also underlined that armed forces and Sudanese rebels are not involved in the raid.  


Feriti al  Juba Teaching hospital, 19 luglio 2012 Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Juba Teaching Hospital, 19 July 2012. Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images


The attack comes in a particularly delicate phase of the South Sudan’s peace process. Salva Kiir’s government and former rebels loyal to Rieck Machar have signed an agreement for defining governmental roles, while Machar – who serves as Vice President again – is expected to be in the capital Juba over the next few days. His comeback in the capital, after two years of civil war, represents a clear signal of the end of the conflict. In his speech addressing the country, Ethiopian Prime Minister pointed out that there’s no link between the country and the ongoing political process in South Sudan, underlying that the attackers are “primitive and destructive forces, bringing death and violence from one place to another”.  


The attack took place in Jakawa, in the Gambella Region, Ethiopia, which is home to hundreds of refugees who fled the political and military conflict started three years ago in South Sudan – country that gained independence in 2011.


Una madre accende il fuoco e cucina per la sua famiglia, Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images


In late January 2016, a group of experts of the United Nations urged the Security Council to bring Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to justice, holding them responsible for atrocities perpetrated during the civil war. Over three years the conflict caused the displacement of 2.3 million people, exposing them to large-scale violence, including ethnic massacres, rapes, tortures, and trafficking of minors.


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