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Sudan Tribune

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Gaatjaak-Nuer community condemns massacre in Ethiopia

April 21, 2016 (JUBA) – A community of South Sudan’s Gaatjaak section of ethnic Nuer, has issued a release on behalf of the community condemning the recent attack in which scores were killed and several others sustained injuries while unknown number of children is reportedly abducted in attack attributed to have been carried out by armed Murle youth in neighbouring Ethiopia.

Murle leaders, including the leader of South Sudan Democratic Movement-Cobra faction, David Yauyau, have directly accused the current governor of Boma state of the Murle tribe, Baba Medan, for organizing the attack. Medan was appointed by President Salva Kiir to administer the new state.

In a statement signed by Stephen Wiu Chuol, acting community leader in Juba, capital of South Sudan, sent heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victims and called for a joint investigation of the incident to establish the actual identity of the perpetrators and hold to account to their act.

Chuol, like David Yau Yau, and others also believed the deadly coordinated attacks on 13 ethnic Nuer villages in Ethiopia which left over 200 people, mostly women and children massacred, and abducted over 100 kids, were carried out by armed Murle youth from the new Boma state.

“We, the Gaatjaak community in South Sudan, based in Juba have learned with shock and profound sadness the barbaric killing by the Murle armed youth of more than 200 of unarmed innocent Gatjaak civilians in Ethiopia and the abduction of over 100 children in the Ethiopian territory of Gambella region on 15 April,” the statement extended to Sudan Tribune reads in part.

Gatjaak community, according to the release, is one community divided by the colonial boundary placing them into two separate countries but with the same cultural norms, practices and traditions, including one language.

It urged the government of the two countries to continue the ongoing military operations in the region where the perpetrators originated in Murle land inside South Sudan until the culprits were brought to book and the kids rescued.

Ethiopia said it has already crossed thousands of troops into South Sudan’s territory were locating the whereabouts of the armed youth for military action.

Aljazeera TV reporters stationed in Addis Ababa and Gambella town on Thursday said they witnessed continued movement of Ethiopian troops towards South Sudan, adding that the two airports of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and the Gambella airport were packed of troops being continuously airlifted to the South Sudanese border.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desaleign earlier announced that his government’s troops will follow the Murle armed militias to wherever they will go inside South Sudan until they rescue the children.

South Sudanese government has given okay to the Ethiopian forces to cross the border and launch attacks inside South Sudan.

Previously, Ethiopian government sought a joint operation with the South Sudanese army (SPLA).

Gambella regional governor, Gatluak Tut Khot, however confirmed to the media that Ethiopian troops had unilaterally began the military operations, adding that the South Sudanese army seemed to have been “overstretched” by its internal challenges and could not effectively respond quickly.