Ethiopia opposition slams government for failing to protect citizens and country’s borders from South Sudan based attackers.
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia (AA) - As the Ethiopian parliament declared on Tuesday a two-day national mourning period following an ethnic tribal attack over the weekend that left over 200 people dead, opposition leaders also slammed the government for failing to protect citizens and borders.
The mourning period begins Wednesday.
On Friday, ethnic pastoralist Murles from South Sudan crossed the Ethiopian border and went on a killing and looting rampage against Nuer and Agnuak tribal people at 13 villages in southwestern Gambella region, which left 208 people, including women and children killed and more than 175 others injured.
Also, 108 children were abducted and more than 2,000 heads of cattle were looted in the incident, according to official sources.
Opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party leader Dr. Kebede Chane told Anadolu Agency Tuesday that the government should have seen it coming.
“We see it as one example of wider regional instability,” Chane said. “Government should have been aware and more vigilant than the weaker government in South Sudan, [and should have known that the situation there] would lead to such incidents.”
He added: “The border area should have been better guarded.”
Ethiopian government claims the border line is very long and too porous to pinpoint each and every movement of people.
Some also pointed out the slow response of Ethiopian security forces in coming to the aid of the victims. In an open letter to the Ethiopian premier, which was carried by the South Sudan News Agency, author Duach R. Mach noted that the attack raged for 12 hours and the Ethiopian army could have saved many victims if it had arrived in time to stop the rampage of the attackers. “What really caused our Defense Forces to not arrive before Murle finished murdering civilians?” Mach asked.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia has vowed to bring back the abducted children and nab the assailants. The government is said to be in contact with South Sudanese president to launch what has been described as a joint attack against Murle attackers. In a televised statement made a day after the attack, Ethiopian premier also claimed the army had killed 60 armed attackers.