Ethiopian defence forces have located children, abducted from the Gambella region, western Ethiopia, earlier in April during a deadly raid blamed on members of the South Sudanese Murle tribe. Security forces crossed into South Sudan and surrounded the areas of Jior and Kok, where the children are believed to have been taken, according to reports released on 21 April.

Gunmen, thought to be from the Murle group, stormed several villages across Gambella on 16 April, killing at least 182 civilians, bringing the death toll up to 208 following similar raids last month.

The 125 abducted children will be soon reunited with their families, an official told the government-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate. He added that defence forces were also working to rescue some 2,000 cattle stolen during the raid.

The motive behind the attack is not clear, but members of the Murle tribe have been blamed for previous raids in which they stole cattle and kidnapped children to raise as their own. In the latest attack, the gunmen targeted people from the Nuer tribe, a group to which South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar belongs.

The Murle group is close to the Dinka tribe, from which South Sudanese President Salva Kiir hails. Some believe the attack might be related to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan that has pitted Nuer against Dinka and resulted in the death of thousands of people.

Gambella region hosts hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese people who fled the conflict, which erupted in 2013 when Kiir fired Machar, who was then the country's vice-president.

After more than two years of violence, Machar is due to return to South Sudan's capital, Juba, to resume his position of vice-president and work with Kiir to form a unity government.