Ethiopia: South Sudanese Gunmen Kill 140 Civilians


South Sudanese gunmen have killed 140 Ethiopian civilians in a cross-border attack, according to the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia confirmed the attack on Saturday, after armed South Sudanese crossed the border on Friday and attacked almost a dozen villages inhabited by ethnic Nuers.


140 killed by ‘bandits’

The Ethiopian government released a statement on Saturday confirming the death count from the previous day:

“140 civilians died in the attack carried out by bandits that crossed from South Sudan,” the government said. The statement also revealed Ethiopian troops were already pursuing the gunmen, claiming to have killed 60 of the culprits by the statement’s release.

Witnesses on Friday had said the majority of civilians killed in the attack were women and children, while many children were also abducted by the gunmen.


No affiliation to South Sudanese forces

The Ethiopian government also clarified the gunmen had no affiliation to South Sudanese government troops or rebel forces who have been engaged in a civil war for more than two years.

The attack took place in the Gambella region that sits across the border with South Sudan – home to a prominent Nuer community in Ethiopia. Gambella also houses almost 300,000 South Sudanese refugees – including ethnic Nuers – who fled from their home country due to the conflict.

Reports suggest Friday’s attack was carried out by members of South Sudan’s Murle tribe, which has a history of conflict with ethnic Nuers.


Featured image:
flickr photo shared by Oxfam East Africa under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license