Monday, May 30, 2016

Ethiopia children still missing after cross-border raid

Ethiopia children still missing after cross-border raid - AJE News: "Villagers ask who was responsible for attacks that left 208 people dead and many children still missing.
Charles Stratford

Dozens of children are still missing after a cross-border raid on villages in the Gambela region of western Ethiopia by South Sudanese tribesmen.

Attackers from South Sudan's Merle tribe killed 208 Ethiopian villagers, abducted 133 children and stole more than 1,000 cattle last month.

"Many of those who were killed and the children who were taken were trying to escape," one of the surviving villagers, Chawel Chan, told Al Jazeera. "They were running across the fields."

Around 50 of the children have been released after negotiations with the tribesmen by the South Sudanese government but securing the release of the others is proving difficult.

READ MORE: 'I took my wife and child and ran'

The Ethiopian government has already conducted a cross-border military operation to free the remaining children. The government officials said they may conduct further military operations if the abducted children are not released.

Ten-year-old Gache Debol was trying to rescue his younger sister when he was taken. His sister is still missing.

"I thought they were going to kill me," he told Al Jazeera. "I tried to escape a few times but they caught me and they beat me. I thought I would never see my family again."

Attackers in military uniform

Villagers are still asking exactly who was responsible for the attacks, carried out by about 2,000 armed men.

The Merle tribesmen are feared for their cattle raids against other tribes in the area.

But the Ethiopian government said this time the attackers from the tribe were wearing South Sudanese military uniforms and carrying what looked like new AK-47 rifles.

The South Sudanese government has denied any responsibility and is working with Ethiopia to rescue the dozens of children still missing"

'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 29, 2016

S. Sudan frees some Ethiopian children, 60 more missing lives lost criminals on run

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 28, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – More Ethiopian children who were abducted by a South Sudanese militia group have been recovered and safely returned to their home.

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Ethiopian troops carrying some of the recovered children abducted by Murle armed men, 11 May 2016 (Facebook photo)
The president of Gambela region, Gatluak Tut said seven more children were brought back to the region from where they were kidnapped last month.

The number of children so far freed from South Sudanese abductors has reached 63.

Their release comes after South Sudan’s deputy defense minister in collaboration with regional administrators and clan leaders made negotiations with the Murle tribesmen.

Tut said efforts to bring back all the kidnapped children would further be strengthened.

“The agreement between Ethiopia and the South Sudanese government to collaborate in resolving the problem peacefully will guarantee the return of the children and looted cattle” he added.

Officials say at least 60 more children are still missing and their release according to sources is being difficult as unidentified demands of abductors have not yet met.

It is feared that abductors could trade the children to other communities with the exchange of cattle.

A military official, who preferred anonymity, told Sudan Tribune Saturday that Ethiopian defense forces will “certainly carryout punitive military operations” should abductors refuse to free the remaining children.

Ethiopian forces are already in South Sudan to rescue the children but have not yet carried out military action, giving ongoing negotiations a chance to peacefully settle problems.

Critics accused Ethiopia’s government of doing little to immediately rescue the children.

“How could a border of country which prides it self as a militarily strong could be so porous to an extent that thousands of foreign armed men invade the nation” Biniyam Daniel, a politician based in Addis Ababa told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

“Where were the Ethiopian security forces, the Air force while they kidnap them and cross the border on foot? Why haven’t they acted in time?” he added.

Last month, an estimated 2,000 attackers from South Sudan’s Murle tribe armed with machine guns, raided 13 villages in Ethiopia’s western region of Gambela and killed 208 Ethiopian villagers, abducted over 140 children and stole at least over 2,000 cattle.

Gambella region is a shelter for over 280,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled to Ethiopia to escape the conflict that broke out in the young nation in December 2013.


Friday, May 27, 2016

The search for Ethiopia's abducted children held in South Sudan -

 "The search for Ethiopia's abducted children held in South Sudan
By Emmanuel Igunza
BBC Africa, Gambella
26 May 2016

Four of Nyardhan Girmal's children were kidnapped from their home in Lare village last month in an attack on Ethiopia's Gambella region that left more than 200 people dead.
They were among 149 children abducted in the raid by members of the Murle community who took them across the border to South Sudan, along with livestock they stole.
Ms Nyardhan's youngest, 11-year-old Jany, has recently been rescued, but her other two sons and her daughter are still being held captive.
"I didn't believe that I would see him ever again," she says, feeding him by hand.
"I am really happy to have one of my children back. It is a blessing and it is thanks to the on-going rescue mission.
"I have been worrying day and night about my children, that I might never ever see them again. I am still waiting for the others."
'Locked in hut'
At least 53 children, the youngest being three months old, have so far been rescued in the Ethiopian army's on-going mission inside South Sudan.
They are from the Nuer community which has a history of ethnic clashes with the Murle - often linked to cattle vendettas.

Image caption
Nyamak Oukuch is looking after her nieces and nephews after her sister was killed in the attack
Jany told his mother how he was locked alone inside a hut, surrounded by heavily armed men, and given only milk to drink during his captivity.
Like many other rescued children, he is now at the guest house of the region's president where they are receiving food and medical attention.
"We have established that these children would have been sold or exchanged for heads of cattle inside South Sudan," says Gatluak Tut Khot, Gambella region president.
"But we are not going to rest until we get them all back home," he adds.
Trauma counselling
Outside the guest house a group of women are sitting under a tree singing and clapping.

Image caption
So far 53 children have been freed during the Ethiopian army's mission in South Sudan
In front of them five boys are going round and round in circles dancing to a popular tune sung by the Nuer of Gambella.
Among them is 27-year-old Nyamak Oukuch, with 18-month-old twins on her lap - her niece and nephew.
Two other children are playing by her side - they are also the children of her elder sister who was killed in the attack on 15 April.
"I don't know where the eldest is. He was also taken and is probably with the Murle," she says.
Many of the freed children are severely malnourished and need urgent medical attention.

Image caption
The rescued children and those caring for them are receiving help from the government and UN
Officials from the UN children's agency and government are jointly providing medical help, counselling and basic necessities for the children, their families and caretakers.
"Whenever children undergo hard conditions like this - separated from their families especially violently, and they are staying with complete strangers for something like three or four weeks - they feel completely let down and some of these experiences last for a lifetime," says Mike Charley, a Unicef child protection specialist in Ethiopia.
Cow dung
Lare was one of dozens of villages attacked by the Murle and is about 70km (43 miles) from Gambella town.

A strong smell of cow dung hits you on arrival.
We were told there used to be thousands of cattle in the area but nearly all of them were stolen in the raid; only a few calves and goats now roam about.
There are several houses in the settlement but nearly all are now abandoned.
Some families have come back to rebuild their lives but most have decided to leave.

Image caption
Nyakuich Both lost her husband in the Murle attack and her two children are still missing
At least 22,000 people have fled their homes and residents say the unprecedented brutality of last month's attack has left them fearful.
"I can never return to my home again. My husband was killed that day and my two children taken," says Nyakuich Both.
"I have nothing left. Why should I go back there?"
On her forehead she has tied a strand of grass which she says is a sign of mourning for her husband, children and home.
"I have heard that one of my children was rescued and is now in Gambella town, but I have not seen him, the other is still in South Sudan. I don't think I will ever see him again," she says.
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption
UN experts have called for a permanent security presence at the border
Like her, thousands of other villagers have now taken refuge in temporary shacks near the main road where they think it is safer.
Others have moved in with neighbours and relatives in nearby villages.
Two UN human rights experts, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio and Christof Heyns, have said communities on both sides of the border receive little protection from their governments and reported that increasing flows of smalls arms was making raids more deadly.
They said there was an "urgent need for an effective and well-resourced permanent presence at the border in order to monitor the area and prevent incursions".
Mr Gatluak has assured Gambella residents that "they are now safe".
"After we get our children and cattle back, we will seriously work on our border relationships," the regional president says.
"We must teach the Murle that there is a better way of life than cattle rustling and stealing children.""

'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Murle community returns 56 abducted children to Ethiopia

Ethiopian troops carrying some of the recovered children abducted by Murle armed men, 11 May 2016 (Facebook photo)

Murle community returns 56 abducted children to Ethiopia

ArticleComments (2)

May 20, 2016 (JUBA) – Up to 56 children previously abducted from the Ethiopian Nuer community by armed men from the ethnic Murle community in South Sudan have been recovered and returned to the Ethiopian authorities in Gambella region.

The number is out of about 108 children reportedly abducted when 13 villages belonging to the Ethiopian Nuer ethnic group in Gambella region were simultaneously attacked by heavily armed men from South Sudan.

Thousands of armed men, some in South Sudan’s army uniform and identified to be from the Murle community, crossed into Ethiopia last month and unleashed dawn attack on the unarmed Ethiopian community.

Over 200 Nuer people were also killed in the attack and some 2,000 heads of cattle looted. About 60 of the Murle attackers were also killed during the violent confrontation.

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, in response declared to deploy his forces into South Sudan to get back the abducted kids.

Thousands of Ethiopian troops have so far crossed into South Sudan through Pochalla and Pibor counties of Jonglei state with tanks, other armoured vehicles and helicopter gunships, threatening to attack inside South Sudan unless all the children were handed over to them.

The report that 56 kids were freed was announced on Friday by the South Sudanese minister of information, Michael Makuei Lueth, who cited that the report was presented to the cabinet meeting on Friday by David Yauyau, deputy minister for defense, also a Murle.

Over 50 other children are yet to be recovered with fears that some who could not walk or run fast, or were too heavy to carry during the retreat of the Murle abductors might have been murdered by their abductors.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dozens of abducted Ethiopian children return home

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
May 16, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian officials on Monday said dozens of children who were kidnapped by a South Sudanese militia group have been recovered and safely returned home following negotiations with the abductors.
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South Sudanese refugee Nyarout Chuol with her children at a UNHCR-run refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia (Photo: William Davison)
According to Gambela regional officials 44 children have so far been returned home after being held hostage for weeks.
The regional state and military officials of the Ethiopian Defense Force are receiving the children upon arrival at Gambella region bordering South Sudan.
Helicopters of the Ethiopian Air force are transporting the children from South Sudan to Ethiopia’s Gambella region from where they were abducted last month.
Up on arrival, the children whose ages mostly ranged from 1-5 years are also receiving medical treatment.
The abducted were freed after South Sudan deputy Defense Minister who is also member of Murle tribe; David Yaw yaw in collaboration with regional administrators and clan leaders made negotiation with the abductors .
Arrival of the children follows days after a South Sudanese official said they have recovered 32 of the over 100 kidnapped Ethiopian children.
Ogato Chan, acting governor of South Sudan’s Boma state recently said local chiefs have collected 32 children from three villages in Likuangole County where the raiders had dropped them off.
The children were taken to the state capital Pibor then sent to Juba for repatriation to Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Military was ready to strike against the Murule armed group in a bid to rescue the children however it holdback after the South Sudan government promised to return back the children through negotiation.
According to government officials, efforts to peacefully rescue all the kidnapped children and looted cattle will be strongly continued.
More children are expected to return home in the coming days, regional officials said.
Last week communication minister, Getachew Reda said taking any military action in a sovereign country should be in accordance with the full knowledge and consent of the target country.
He said senior military officials from South Sudan have been negotiating with the Ethiopian Defense Force for the peaceful settlement of the matter.
Despite the ongoing negotiations, a military official who asked anonymity however told Sudan Tribune that the Ethiopian defense Forces will eventually carryout punitive military action to stop the Murules from any future cross-border raids.
“The prime target is bringing back the children alive but perpetrators will be hunted down and punished”, said the official. He however, declined to give further details.
On April 15, 2016 hundreds of members of a South Sudan militia group armed with machine guns, raided 13 villages in Anuak and Nuer Zones of Ethiopia’s Gambela Region where they killed over 200 people and snatched some 125 children.
The armed Murule militants further looted over 2,000 livestock.
Gambella region is a shelter for more than 280,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled to Ethiopia to escape a conflict in their home country that broke out in December 2013.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Is the Era of Great Famines Over? Politics creates famine, and politics can stop it-

Slide Show

Mass Famines Are Political

Mass Famines Are Political

CreditPool photo/Caritas, via Associated Press  The New York Times
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The worst drought in three decades has left almost 20 million Ethiopians — one-fifth of the population — desperately short of food. And yet the country’s mortality rate isn’t expected to increase: In other words, Ethiopians aren’t starving to death.
I’ve studied famine and humanitarian relief for more than 30 years, and I wasn’t prepared for what I saw during a visit to Ethiopia last month. As I traveled through northern and central provinces, I saw imported wheat being brought to the smallest and most remote villages, thanks to a new Chinese-built railroad and a fleet of newly imported trucks. Water was delivered to places where wells had run dry. Malnourished children were being treated in properly staffed clinics.
Compare that to the aftermath of the 1984 drought, which killed at least 600,000 people, caused the economy to shrink by nearly 14 percent and turned the name “Ethiopia” into a synonym for shriveled, glazed-eyed children on saline drips.
How did Ethiopia go from being the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation? Thanks partly to some good fortune, but mostly to peace, greater transparency and prudent planning. Ethiopia’s success in averting another disaster is confirmation that famine is elective because, at its core, it is an artifact and a tool of political repression.
In 1984, the rains failed in the midst of a civil war, pitting the military regime headed by Mengistu Haile Mariam against rebels in the northern province of Tigray and neighboring Eritrea. When food ran short, Mengistu’s government blocked trade, bombed markets and withheld emergency supplies in rebel-controlled areas.
The suffering that ensued elicited a vast outpouring of generosity from the West, brought about in part by the Live Aid concerts. But all that charity was no more than a Band-Aid, as even its instigator, the musician Bob Geldof, observed at the time. That was because war was destroying Ethiopia’s rural economy, and food aid was being redirected from civilians to soldiers and government militias.
In 1987, as the famine was receding, a group of researchers and I went to Tigray on a mission for Oxfam to study local food markets. We reached a simple conclusion: When farmers could bring foodstuffs to points of sale — when the roads were clear of army checkpoints, when markets were held at night to reduce the risk of being bombed — the local economy worked efficiently enough. With markets in operation, the production of local crops increased, and food prices fell to levels people could afford.
Ending famine required ending fighting.
The Mengistu regime collapsed in 1991. Under the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a former guerrilla turned advocate of rapid economic growth, Ethiopia enjoyed internal peace for the first time in a generation. There were localized droughts but no famines — with one notable exception.
In 1999, food shortages in the southeastern part of the country killed 29,000 people. What could have just been a crisis devolved into disaster because the government was at war with Eritrea along its northern border, and foreign donors, appalled that the government would spend its meager resources on fighting, were slow to provide food aid.
CreditMatt Chase
A major drought in 2002 caused hunger nationwide. But the following year, when I traveled with a team from the United Nations Children’s Fund to stricken areas in Wollo (north), Hararghe (east) and Sidama and Wollaita (south), we didn’t see the telltale canvas tents of emergency distribution centers. A vast relief effort mounted by the government and international agencies was managing to deliver at least some food to many villages, and so people were staying at home.
Some people were still going hungry, for sure, and in the worst cases children were starving, but in far smaller numbers than in the past. Our survey of child survival rates also found that outside these pockets of starvation, mortality rates weren’t rising relative to non-drought years.
By 2015, when El Niño brought the worst drought in decades, Ethiopia was better prepared than ever. In the intervening decade, the government had begun programs to help families facing food shortages with various forms of food and cash assistance. It had taken measures to mitigate the effects of droughts, rehabilitating water catchments, reforesting and building roads and clinics, especially in the countryside.
The government also had money on hand. Ethiopia is a petroleum importer, and the central bank had set aside nearly $1 billion in case oil prices rose, Finance Minister Abdulaziz Mohammed told me. But instead oil prices had plummeted, and within a few months of the drought hitting, the government had spent some $300 million on emergency relief, with more to come.
The economy will take a hit. Animals are dying of thirst, and the livelihoods of families that rely on sheep or cattle are being wiped out. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the G.D.P. growth rate will drop to about 8.5 percent in 2015 and 2016, down from more than 10 percent in 2014. But that’s still 8.5 percent, an impressive figure. And people aren’t dying.
Some risks remain. Ethiopia’s early-warning system is designed to detect and respond to drought in farming areas, rather than, say, small cities. Urbanization, dislocation and other economic changes are happening faster than the government’s prevention and relief measures can adapt.
But these challenges are manageable, so long as there is the political will to manage them. Grimly certain that droughts will recur — and when there won’t be an oil contingency fund to tap — Mr. Mohammed has opened talks with the World Bank to devise a national drought insurance plan. This is a sensible move.
It’s also evidence that after countries have passed a certain threshold of prosperity and development, peace, political liberalization and greater government accountability are the best safeguards against famine. There is no record of people dying of famine in a democracy.
Nearly 115 million people died of starvation between 1870 and 1980, almost 90 percent of them as a result of imperial conquest, great wars or repression under totalitarian regimes, according to an analysis we conducted at the World Peace Foundation. Since then, with the end of major international conflicts and at least some measure of democratization across much of the world, starvation has receded.

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So is the era of great famines finally over? Let’s just say it could be. Famine isn’t caused by overpopulation, and as Ethiopia’s experience shows, it’s not a necessary consequence of drought. Politics creates famine, and politics can stop it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

South Sudan group 'frees 19 abducted Ethiopian children'

  • 5 hours ago
  • From the sectionAfrica

Ethiopian soldiers (file photo, March 2012)Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionEthiopia had threatened military action to rescue the abducted children

At least 19 Ethiopian children held captive by an armed South Sudanese group for nearly a month have been freed, Ethiopian state media reports.
The 19 were freed following mediation by South Sudan's government, it adds.
This is the first group to be released since about 125 children were abducted in the cross-border raid.
Members of the Murle community carried out the attack. They have previously been accused of stealing livestock and children to raise as their own.
More than 200 people from the rival Nuer community in Ethiopia's western Gambella province were killed in the 15 April raid.
Ethiopian forces crossed into South Sudan, encircling villages where the children were held.
However, the children were freed without any fighting after South Sudanese officials entered into negotiations with the abductors, the Ethiopian News Agency reports.

A map showing Gambella province in west Ethiopia

Negotiations would continue to free all the children, it reports.
"The children must be rescued and be reunited with their families. The cattle that was taken should also be handed over to the right owners," South Sudan's ambassador to Ethiopia, James Pitia Morgan, is quoted as saying.
Ethiopia shares a long border with South Sudan and cross-border raids involving the Murle and Nuer communities are not uncommon.
However, the scale of the 15 April shocked many people in both countries, and led to protests in Ethiopia's Gambella region with parents demanding greater protection for their children.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said "primitive and destructive forces" carried out the raid.

Machar’s Return Only the First Step in Bringing South Sudan Back Together

Andrew Green Monday, May 9, 2016
South Sudanese First Vice President Riek Machar, left, and President Salva Kiir after the first meeting of a new transitional government, Juba, South Sudan, April 29, 2016 (AP photo by Jason Patinkin).
South Sudan’s original political odd couple is back together again. In late April, President Salva Kiir watched over the swearing in of his very recent rival and enemy, Riek Machar, as first vice president before declaring that the ceremony marked “the end of the war and the return of peace and stability to South Sudan.”

Is Kiir right? While the homecoming for Machar, the vice president-turned-rebel leader, is a crucial initial step in returning peace to South Sudan, it is only that. And it would be dangerous to reduce the peace process to simply the state of the relationship between the two leaders.

South Sudan’s civil conflict began in December 2013, when a firefight broke out in a military barracks outside the capital, Juba, between rival forces aligned with Kiir and Machar. This came just months after Kiir removed Machar from the vice presidency. In the days that followed the clash, as troops from Machar’s ethnic group, the Nuer, fled the city, forces loyal to Kiir began what the United Nations Mission in South Sudan described as “targeted killings of civilians of Nuer origin following house-to-house searches.” Within days, the fighting had spread to the country’s northeast, and Machar had declared himself officially in rebellion.

Those initial days of violence in Juba in 2013 are critical to understanding the opposition that developed. As the International Crisis Group has argued, the fighting that followed was primarily a reaction to the Nuer massacre in Juba and not necessarily a response to Machar’s personal revolt and subsequent creation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army—In Opposition (SPLA-IO). “Many Nuer SPLA as well as Nuer youth rebelled before the SPLA-IO existed,” the International Crisis Group has pointed out. The massacre in Juba also set the tone for subsequent atrocities committed by both sides, including kidnapping, rape, torture and extrajudicial killings.

A group of SPLA-IO officials underscored this point in a letter they sent to peace negotiators in August 2015, describing themselves as “political and military forces that are opposed to [the] Juba regime which has turned its guns against innocent civilians.” In the same letter, they denounced both Machar for mismanaging the rebellion, as well as any peace plan that offered a return to the “status quo that plunged the Country to the current civil war.”

It would be dangerous to reduce South Sudan’s peace process to the state of the relationship between Kiir and Machar.

But will Machar’s return last month actually build toward a justice and reconciliation process and, eventually, a new government and reformed security sector that appease all combatants—not just Kiir and Machar’s immediate constituencies?

Machar’s arrival in Juba certainly jumpstarted South Sudan’s stalled peace process, which has sputtered since a deal was signed in August 2015. Last month, within days of Machar’s swearing in to the newly created position of first vice president—one of the agreement’s requirements—the two sides were announcing a transitional government of national unity, another of the outlined steps.

But that did not stop the author of the earlier letter from the SPLA-IO leadership, Peter Gatdet, from penning another missive denouncing the new government and warning that he and other former SPLA-IO generals would “take action immediately.”

It is tempting to dismiss threats from Gatdet, the former head of the South Sudan Liberation Army and a frequent declarer of rebellions, but not wise. His perspective is shared by thousands of people across South Sudan who worry that the new government is intent on papering over the roots of the two-and-a-half-year conflict. The result would be only a superficial peace.

The August agreement, though imperfect, is designed to prevent that from happening, so long as it is followed.

Among the deal’s many requirements are the establishment of a commission for truth, reconciliation and healing; an independent hybrid judicial body; and a compensation and repatriation authority. These components have gotten little attention from either the Machar or Kiir camps. The president’s speech following Machar’s swearing in, for instance, was long on forgiveness, as he called on South Sudanese politicians and citizens “to put their differences and personal interests aside for the welfare of our independence.” But it was short on accountability.

Religious leaders, civil society groups and international watchdogs, meanwhile, have maintained a steady demand for justice and reconciliation mechanisms. They will likely need to continue to do so to ensure they are not sidelined.

Even more difficult is the task of creating a government and, under it, a security sector that feel inclusive to people outside of the national army, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and the ruling political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), that grew out of it. Though rejected by Gatdet, the three-year transitional government did include a smattering of opposition leaders, alongside many SPLM stalwarts.

The new government will now have several opportunities to win over its doubters, beginning with drafting South Sudan’s first permanent constitution, which was postponed in the country’s rush to independence in 2011. They have 27 months to ratify a document, according to the August agreement, before elections that are scheduled to take place as the transitional government’s three-year term expires.

Perhaps more critical are the security sector reforms, which are not off to a good start. Machar’s return was predicated on acarefully calibrated distribution of forces by both sides within Juba. Any additional government troops were ordered to move about 15 miles outside the capital. But it’s not clear that ever happened.

The body tasked with confirming the demilitarization, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, has been hampered in its efforts. And a leaked memo from the Kenyan ambassador to South Sudan days before Machar’s arrival warned that the two camps were “trying to outdo each other amassing troops and armaments around the capital.”

If the two sides are unwilling to meet the basic demilitarization requirements, it bodes ill for the completion of the six-month Strategic Defense and Security Review, culminating in the reunification of forces. The worst-case scenario, of course, is that the build-up presages another clash in Juba and the complete abandonment of the peace process.

Plenty of additional stumbling blocks remain, including Kiir’s October move to divide South Sudan administratively, from 10 states into 28. The decree undermined the state-level power-sharing arrangement struck in the peace deal and has earned the scorn of both Machar and the international community. There is also the task of addressing the systemic corruption that plagued the government before the fighting began, as well as somehow dealing with the complete collapse of the country’s economy. And the list goes on.

Machar’s return to Kiir’s government was welcome, but peace in South Sudan is hardly the inevitable outcome.

Andrew Green is a foreign correspondent based in East Africa. He writes often from the region on issues of health, human rights and politics, and his work has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New Republic and The Washington Post, among other outlets. You can view more of his reporting at

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ethiopia's army has entered South Sudan in search of 100 kidnapped children — Quartz

Ethiopia’s army entered South Sudan this week to search for over 100 children abducted by a South Sudanese militia during a cross-border cattle raid last month.

Ethiopia said the raiders killed over 200 people and blamed the attack on an ethnic Murle militia from South Sudan’s Boma area, which borders Ethiopia’s Gambela region.

South Sudanese authorities say Murle traditional chiefs are negotiating the children’s release to avoid military action, but Ethiopia’s entrance raises concerns that South Sudan government cannot control its own borders, so its neighbors are stepping in.

South Sudan has been embroiled in a bloody civil war the last two and a half years which has destabilized large parts of the nation and made its already porous borders susceptible to incursions.

President Salva Kiir warned last week that neighboring countries may take advantage of the chaos to push in.

“They can come in with their guns and do whatever they do,” Kiir said in an address to his ministers. “We don’t want this thing to continue.”

South Sudanese authorities insist Ethiopia’s incursion has been done with their full cooperation and approval, but Juba appears in the dark about the Ethiopian operation.

No one can say how many troops have entered South Sudan, and there seems to be serious lack of coordination within South Sudan’s own government.

The army, defense ministry, and the Boma government give different information about where the Ethiopian troops have entered South Sudan, and each have sent their own envoys to Addis Ababa.

South Sudanese authorities give conflicting stories about the chiefs’ rescue efforts, too.

The Boma government told Quartz 32 children were recovered, but presidential spokesman said 41. South Sudan’s army spokesman told Quartz he cannot confirm any children are saved.

This isn’t the first time neighboring countries or armed groups have infiltrated South Sudan to apparently capitalize on its civil war.
Last year, Uganda’s army entered the disputed Magwi area, while Kenyan soldiers pushed north to South Sudan’s Nadapal settlement near an oil-rich area.

Sudan to the north has also applied pressure by halting trade across its border to landlocked South Sudan while allegedly carrying out aerial bombings on South Sudanese territory in March.

Meanwhile, the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels of Joseph Kony reportedly entered South Sudan’s Raja County in the northwest this year after being based in nearby Sudan and Central African Republic.

Deadly cattle raids are common along the South Sudan-Ethiopia border often including abductions of children and women as wives or to care for stolen cattle.