September 8th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Ethiopian authorities have arrested a South Sudanese urban refugee after allegedly stealing a two-day-old baby from a maternity hospital in the Gambella region.
Liech Gach, a health worker at Gambella General Hospital, said the woman was arrested on Friday when police launched an investigation to find the whereabouts of the missing newborn who disappeared shortly after birth.
“The baby’s mother was in a deep sleep when that woman took her baby away from her side. This is the first time a newborn child has been stolen from this hospital,” Liech said.
According to the Ethiopian Criminal Code on Human Trafficking and children smuggling, such crimes are considered first-class criminal offenses punishable by law, with penalties ranging from 5 to 10 years in prison.
Ethiopia is the second largest refugee-hosting country in East Africa, sheltering thousands of refugees and asylum seekers from neighboring South Sudan.
South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013, after a power struggle within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned into fierce military confrontations between forces loyal to President Salva Mayardit and those loyal to former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
In September last year, the warring parties signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement raising hope for the return of refugees to South Sudan.