Addis Abeba – Nabil Mahdi, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to South Sudan, has called for an end to repeated cross border attacks by Murle militants targeting civilians in Gambella regional state.The Ambassador said this during talks with South Sudanese Foreign Minister, Mayiik Ayii Deng.
Gambella regional state press secretariat office said that Ambassador Nabil has briefed the Foreign Minister on security and development issues related to the joint border areas between Ethiopia and South Sudan. In particular, he called for a lasting solution to the recurring cross border attacks by Murle militants targeting innocent civilians. The Ambassador also emphasized the need to convene a joint cross border commission meeting soon to discuss the issue.
In January the Gambella region police commission said that militiamen from the neighboring South Sudan crossed borders and launched an attack on the region leaving eight people dead and five others injured. According to the police commission, the gunmen are from South Sudan’s Murle tribe.
In the second week of February, a similar attack was mounted by armed men from the Murle community on Dima refugee camp and Gog woreda in the Gambella Region killing one person and injuring two others. Three children were also abducted during the cross border raid.
According to the Gambella Region Press Secretariat, Ambassador Nabil also said that Ethiopia and South Sudan should benefit by linking the two countries with different infrastructure, including roads. He described the security situation in Ethiopia as “improving” and said that the government was making “comprehensive efforts” to facilitate national dialogue.
Foreign Minister Mayiik on his part spoke of the need to work harder to ensure a secure peace along the border and to benefit the neighboring counties bordering the two countries.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said recently that the leaders of the neighboring states in South Sudan and Gambella have affirmed to hold consultative meetings to solve the problem.
Ambassador Dina Mufti, MoFA Spokesperson, said that “Murle’s attacks have been there for years and the nature of the problem should thoroughly investigate whether they were state sponsored attacks or not. In fact the two countries should educate and create awareness on the local residents on the borders regarding the importance of peaceful coexistence.” The Ambassador said that after reports of the Murle militiamen killed 18 Ethiopians, abducted eight children and looted more than 100 heads of cattle from the Gambella region. AS