Thursday, April 21, 2016
Ethiopian troops close in on hostages taken by South Sudan militia | World news | The Guardian
South Sudanese refugees wait to register at the Pagak border entry point in Gambella region, Ethiopia, last month. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images "Ethiopian troops close in on hostages taken by South Sudan militia
Government says soldiers have surrounded area where 125 children are believed to have been taken by Murle tribesmen
South Sudanese refugees wait to register at the Pagak border entry point in Gambella region, Ethiopia, last month. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Associated Press in Addis Ababa
Thursday 21 April 2016 13.38 BST Last modified on Thursday 21 April 2016 13.52 BST
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Ethiopian troops have reportedly surrounded an area in South Sudan where an armed group is suspected of holding 125 children hostage.
The troops crossed into South Sudan and surrounded Jior and Kok, where the children are believed to be being held by Murle tribesmen, the president of Gambella state, Gatluak Tut, told the state-affiliated broadcaster Fana.
South Sudan peace deal in balance amid opposition leader’s continued absence
The Ethiopian government says at least 208 people died when the Murle attacked villages in Ethiopia on Friday and stole more than 2,000 cattle. Ethiopia says it has killed at least 60 of the attackers.
The region hosts thousands of South Sudanese refugees who fled after war broke out in December 2013. It is also home to Ethiopian and South Sudanese armed groups that have attacked government installations and soldiers.
Ethiopia began two days of mourning on Wednesday to honour victims of Friday’s attack. The prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, said in a national address that Ethiopia was discussing with South Sudan whether to take joint military action against the attackers.
On Wednesday, the European Union said it was in touch with South Sudanese authorities to ensure the immediate return of the abducted children to their families and that those responsible for the attacks are held accountable.
France described the attack, on 13 villages across the Gambella region, as unacceptable.