Ethiopia: Troops surround area where 125 children are being held
Murle tribesman allegedly attacked villages in Ethiopia, killing 208
The Ethiopian government said Wednesday it identified and surrounded an area in South Sudan where an armed group is suspected of holding 125 children hostage.
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Ethiopian troops had crossed into South Sudan and surrounded Jior and Kok, where the children were allegedly being held by Murle tribesmen, Gatluak Tut, the president of Gambella Regional State, told state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corp.
The Ethiopian government says at least 208 people died when the Murle allegedly 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 their country in December 2013. It is also home to Ethiopian and South Sudanese armed groups that attack government installations and soldiers.
Ethiopia began two days of mourning on Wednesday to honour victims of the Friday attack. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a national address that Ethiopia is in consultation with South Sudan to take joint military measures against the attackers.
On Wednesday, the European Union said it is 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 has also described the attack, which was conducted against 13 villages across the Gambella region, as "unacceptable."