Gunmen from South Sudan have killed 28 people and kidnapped 43 children in neighboring Ethiopia, a government official said on Wednesday.
An incident seen as another demonstration of how Sudan’s civil war threatens the region.
A regional government spokesman, Chol Chany, said the raids on Sunday and Monday occurred in Gambella’s Gog and Jor areas, which border South Sudan’s Boma region.
“Murle bandits carried out the attack, they fled along with 43 children. The (Ethiopian military) is pursuing them. The assailants haven’t crossed over to South Sudan yet,” Chany told Reuters, using a term for a local ethnic group.
Oil-rich South Sudan has been mired in a civil war since President Salva Kiir, fired his deputy Riek Machar in December 2013.
Conflict has split the country along largely ethnic lines forcing more than 3 million people to flee their homes.
More than one million of the people have found refuge in neighboring countries, especially Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Sudan.
However, regional governments have expressed fears that violence in South Sudan could spill over its borders into their own nations.
According to Chany, about 100 children have managed to return to Ethiopia, but the rest remain in the kidnappers’ hands.