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Sudan Tribune

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S. Sudan’s Nuer community leader calls for joint action against perpetuators of Ethiopia attack

April 21, 2016 (JUBA) – A section of South Sudan’s Gaatjaak community of the ethnic Nuer have issued a statement on condemning the recent attack in which nearly 200 people were killed, several others injuried while unknown number of children is reportedly abducted in an attack allegedly carried out by armed Murle youth in Ethiopia.

Governor of Ethiopia's Gambella region pictured with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn during a visit to the region (FILE photo)
Governor of Ethiopia’s Gambella region pictured with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn during a visit to the region (FILE photo)
Murle leaders, including the leader of the South Sudan Democratic Movement-Cobra faction, David Yauyau, denied the allegations, urging the government to trace the identity of those suspected to have carried out the attack.

“I would like to tell the people of South Sudan, their government, the people of Ethiopia and their government, the region and the international community that Cobra faction is no longer a separate force. It is part of the SPLA. It has already been integrated and so we have no members of the cobra factions who move with weapons and cross into territory of another country. This is one,” said Yau-Yau.

He added, “Number two, we do not have any information indicating that some armed Murle youth have left their homes and crossed into Ethiopia”.

Statements from various groups, including some members of South Sudan government have indicated the attack was carried out by a group believed to be armed Murle youth.

Stephen Wiu Chuol, only identified as the acting community leader in the South Sudan capital, sent condolences to the family members of the victims and called for a joint investigation of the incident to establish the actual identity of the perpetuators and hold them to account for their act.

Chuol believes armed Murle youth carried out the attack.

“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,” partly read the statement.

The Gatjaak community, further stressed the statement, is one community divided by the colonial boundary placing them into two separate countries, but with the same cultural norms, practices and traditions.

“We would like to express our sincere heartfelt condolences to the victims of this attack, and condemn this barbaric killing by the armed Murle youth, and the abduction of Gatjaak children,” it stressed.

The community, however, urged the government of the two countries to continue the ongoing military operations in the region where the incident occurred to jointly work together in holding perpetuators and culprits who committed these unacceptable crimes to prevent the occurrence and continuation of a similar incident in the region.