Cattle raiders have crossed the Ethiopian border with South Sudan to kill and steal. On Friday last, armed men crossed into Ethiopia on a cattle raid. They have left 208 people dead at last count. In addition they have kidnapped over 100 children and stolen about 2000 head of livestock.
While cattle raiding has taken place in the past, the scale of this raid and the brutality of it are unprecedented. Thousands of heavily armed men attacked 10 villages. While some authorities state that the S. Sudan rebels or military were not involved, it has been reported that most of the raiders were wearing military uniforms.
A spokesman for the Ethiopian government has stated that the military has killed 60 of the raiders and has crossed the S. Sudan border in pursuit of the rustlers. The state communication minister stated that the group from S. Sudan was of one ethnic group and they were targeting a different group.
You might ask why the raiders would burden themselves with children. The area has a long history of holding captives as slaves. People are bought to use as free labour. Many of the girls and women captures are also sexually abused.
Cattle in the region are local currency. They indicate wealth and status. Since the particularly nasty civil war in S. Sudan began the raids have turned increasingly deadly as more and more lethal weapons have proliferated. Most of the raids are conducted between hostile ethnic groups.
The theft of the children and the slaughter of the people have made the survival of those left even more tenuous than before. Ethiopia is facing famine because of the long lasting drought which has ruined most crops. It has been estimated that over 10 million people need food aid now.
All Africa News
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