• Countermeasure against armed South Sudanese insurgents continues
ADDIS ABABA — THE ETHIOPIA HERALD Newspaper 20 April 2016: The House of People’s Representatives yesterday declared a two-day national mourning, April 20 – 21, 2016, to honor the victims of Gambella attack. The National Flag will also be flown at half-mast.
Heavily armed groups committed barbaric attack on 13 kebeles in Gambella State last Friday killing 208 innocent civilians, while also kidnapping about 108 women and children. The FDRE government and defence force working with the people of the State and the government has put the situation under control, and currently they are calming the affected area.
On the occasion, Members of the Parliament expressed their sorrow, and relayed their condolences to families of the victims.
Meanwhile, Ulem Tadak, a victim of the barbaric massacre by South Sudanese armed group, who lives in Luwal locality, Nuer Zone of Gambella State told the Ethiopian News Agency: “I lost four of my children. Nothing is painful than this. The gunmen inflicted huge loss on us.”
Insurgents from South Sudan have been repeatedly crossing borders and attacked civilians. Therefore, he said, the State and Federal governments should safeguard the borders and protect the people from such brutal killing.
Another victim from Nibnib district Yaching Kuri filled with anger and sadness told the news agency: “ We lost our family members and our cattle.” She called on the government to take measures against the perpetrators of the attack.”
Yaching also indicated that the government need to strengthen effort to rehabilitate the victims.
Gambella State Early Warning and Food Security Agency Director Thomas Puk also told the Amharic daily Addis Zemen that the gunmen from South Sudan attacked innocent civilians on Friday morning. On that day, 208 civilians including children, women and the elderly were massacred. Some 102 children were also kidnapped and a number of cattle taken away
Thomas said that previously minor attacks took place but this deadly attack was committed by a heavily armed and organized groups from South Sudan crossing 30-kms into the Ethiopian border.
The Director added that the Ethiopian defence force is taking measures to set free the kidnapped children. He added that state and federal forces have increased their presence tightening security at the border.
State Chief Gatluak Tut on his part said that state forces together with the federal security forces are taking strong measures on the armed group.
In addition to hunting the group, state and federal governments are assisting the victims in the rehabilitation activity, the Chief added.
Expressing heartfelt condolences to the victims, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said that the national defence force is taking counter measures to rescue the kidnapped children and mothers.
As part of this effort, the defence force has killed over 60 gunmen of the inhuman group so far, according to the Premier.
He said that his government has confirmed that both the government and opposition forces of South Sudan have no role in the attack. The government will continue to end such incidents through diplomatic means with its South Sudanese counterpart, the Premier said.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES
& HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER