Ethiopia declares two days of national mourning after cattle raids
April 20, Addis Ababa: Ethiopia has declared two days of national mourning for 208 people killed in cross-border cattle raids. More than 200 children were also kidnapped in the raids, the government said.
Parliament said in a statement carried by state media that flags would be flown at half-mast across the country, and in its foreign missions, from Wednesday. It gave no further information about the missing children.
The raids last week happened in three districts of Gambela, in the country's west, when attackers from neighbouring South Sudan crossed into Ethiopia.
Gambela straddles the border of the two nations and is home to more than 280,000 South Sudanese refugees fleeing a civil war that has raged for more than two years, forcing at least one million people from their homes, media reported.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Monday that his government was working with the government in South Sudan to hunt down the attackers.
The attackers were not South Sudanese government forces or rebels, according to Hailemariam.
Ethiopia's Information Minister Getachew Reda said that the army had killed at least 60 of the attackers, and that the government was willing to pursue more across the border, Al Jazeera reported.
Cross-border cattle raids, often involving Murle tribesmen from South Sudan's Upper Nile and Jonglei regions, are not uncommon in the area. Previous attacks, however, were much smaller in scale.
The Oslo Times