An Ethiopian official says that armed groups have killed more than 140 civilians near Ethiopia's border with South Sudan.

The attackers came from South Sudan and killed civilians, including women and children, Getachew Reda, Ethiopia's communications minister, told the Associated Press on Saturday.

"The Ethiopian defense force is currently chasing after the perpetrators," said Reda, adding that there is no relation between the attackers and the South Sudanese government or the country's rebels. "Our defense forces have so far killed 60 members of the attackers."

Ethiopian forces may cross into South Sudan to pursue them, he said.

The attack took place on Friday in Jakawa, in Ethiopia's Gambella region and the attackers were members of South Sudan's Murle tribe, said Reda. A number of children were abducted and taken into South Sudan, he said. The latest attack is much larger than past skirmishes, he said.

The Ethiopian region hosts thousands of South Sudanese refugees who fled after war broke in their country in December 2013. It is also home to Ethiopian and South Sudanese armed groups that attack government installations and soldiers.