THE killing of more than 200 people in Gambella, on the border between Ethiopia and South Sudan, has prompted a “serious prayer request” from the President-Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Dr Mouneer Anis.
More than 100 children were kidnapped during the attack, carried out by heavily armed men from the Murle tribe in South Sudan. The Ethiopian army has said that it is pursuing the attackers in order to rescue the children. The targets of the raid were members of the Nuer ethnic group who live in both South Sudan and Ethiopia, according to the AFP news agency.
Dr Anis heard of the attack on Sunday, from the Dean of St Frumentius Anglican Theological College, in Gambella, the Revd Dr Johann van der Bijl. “The fear is that this conflict may escalate and spread,” Dr Anis said. “Please pray for safety and wisdom for Bishop Grant [LeMarquand] and Revd Johann and all staff in the Anglican centre and the churches of that area. Pray also for the people of this very inflamed region.”
Cross-border cattle raids have occurred in the same area in the past, and in February, the Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa, Dr Grant LeMarquand, warned of escalating tensions between ethnic groups, Nuer and Anuak. Gambella is also home to more than 270,000 refugees from South Sudan, up from 49,000 before the conflict broke out in December 2013 (News, 27 November 2015). Two-thirds of them are children.