At least 19 Ethiopian children held captive by an armed South Sudanese group for nearly a month have been freed following mediation by South Sudan’s government, it adds, Ethiopia’s state news agency reports.
The children, who were among more than a hundred abducted during a cross-border tribal raid on April 15, were freed peacefully following mediation by South Sudanese authorities, the government in Addis Ababa said.
“There was no fighting,” Ethiopian government spokesperson Getachew Reda said.
“There’s been effort on the part of South Sudan to locate the children and work with tribal leaders to free them,” he added.
“We hope the other nchildren will be brought back safely and without a need for a fight, but Ethiopian forces will continue to make every effort including taking military action if necessary.”
The children were brought safely on Monday to the town of Gambella in western Ethiopia, near the border with war-torn South Sudan, the spokesperson said.
The Ethiopian army had crossed the border to look for the children after the attack, which left 208 people dead.
Members of the Murle community who were armed with Kalashnikov rifles carried out the attack. They have previously been accused of stealing livestock and children to raise as their own.