ADDIS ABABA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia said Thursday that unrest in Moyale area, southern Ethiopia, in recent days has displaced 39,825 people.
Speaking to the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), Colonel Aligaz Gebre, head of the 41st division of Ethiopia army, said rumors of war was largely responsible for the displacement.
Gebre's comment came after a botched military operation to sniff out rebels in Moyale city last Saturday left nine civilians dead and 12 injured. The deadly shooting and resulting panic has already led to more than 8,000 people to flee to neighboring Kenya.
Ethiopia's Command Secretariat on Sunday said four soldiers including a colonel have been disarmed and put under arrest pending investigation.
Moyale near Kenya border is in Oromia regional state, which has been in a state of unrest since late 2015 that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.
The unrest has forced the Ethiopian government to impose a six-month martial law starting February 16, saying it was to protect the country's constitution, citizens and their property from dangers that would arise from the violent demonstrations.
The current martial law period is the second the East African country has imposed since the second half of 2016. Ethiopia had witnessed a 10-month long state of emergency period since October 2016.