JUBA, South Sudan – Authorities in South Sudan said they have recovered 32 of the 125 Ethiopian children who the Ethiopian government said were abducted from its Gambela region two weeks ago during a deadly cattle raid blamed on a South Sudanese militia.
Ogato Chan, acting governor of South Sudan's Boma state which borders Gambela, told Associated Press Saturday that local chiefs collected the children from three villages in Likuangole County where the raiders had dropped them off. Chan said the recovered children will be brought to state capital Pibor then sent to Juba to be repatriated to Ethiopia.
"The chiefs are looking for the rest of the children," he said.
Ethiopia's government said 208 people died in the April 15 raid and blamed the attack on an ethnic Murle militia from South Sudan.
In Ethiopia, Gambela regional president Gatluak Tut told AP he has not been notified about the recovery of the children.
Deadly cattle raids and abductions of children are common along the border of South Sudan and Ethiopia between the Murle in South Sudan and the Nuer and Anyuak tribes who live in both countries. Children are sometimes kidnapped to look after stolen cows.
AP writer Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contributed to this report.