News: One killed, more than nine thousand civilians displaced in clashes bordering Gambella state, South Sudan

IDPs in Gambella region
Photo: Gambella region press secretariat office

By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12

Addis Abeba – Over 9,000 residents of Lare and Jikao woredas were displaced in fresh clashes near the South Sudanese border leaving six people dead and one injured, the Gambella regional government said. According to the head of the regional press secretariat office, Ugutu Ading, said the recent clash between Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) troops and the South Sudanese government led South Sudanese militants to cross over to Ethiopian territories displacing the residents of four kebeles in Lare and Jikao woredas of the Nuer zone.  

Women and children are the majority among the 9,500 displaced people who were forced out of their homes following the attack launched by border crossing South Sudanese militiamen. The statement said that the Sudanese militants confiscated unspecified items, including the Ethiopian and the regional flags.

Ugutu noted the deployment of security forces to recover the looted items and that prevent SPLM-IO troops from crossing the border. He disclosed the presence of South Sudanese refugees in Lare and Jikao woredas and urged concerned authorities to provide emergency aid to the IDPs. 

Deputy Administrator of Lare Woreda in Nuer Zone, Ubong Ukun, on his part said that the residents of Lare Woreda have been displaced by the recent clashes near the South Sudanese border. He underlined that the displaced people have been subjected to various economic and social crises and called on the relevant government and non-governmental donors to support them. The residents of Blimkun Kebele of Lare Woreda pleaded with the government to bring a lasting solution to the issue. 

There had been recurring attacks by armed men from South Sudan in the Gambella region. The latest of such attacks was in January when militiamen from neighboring South Sudan crossed borders and launched an attack on the region leaving eight people dead and five others injured. The regional police commissioner Abula Ubong, the gunmen are from South Sudan’s Murle tribe. The onslaught took place in Bakankan Kebele located in Akobo woreda of the Nuer zone, the police said. The regional police commissioner indicated that, that there’s a tendency for armed groups to go in and out of the region. “It is summer and the border is long and unguarded,” he said. AS

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