39,825 displaced in restive southern Ethiopia

Ethiopian president Mulatu Wirtu [Photo: africa.cgtn.com]

Ethiopia said on Thursday that unrest in Moyale area, southern Ethiopia, in recent days had displaced 39,825 people.

Speaking to the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), Aligaz Gebre, a colonel and Head of the 41st Division of Ethiopian Army, said rumours of war was largely responsible for the displacement.

Mr. Gebre’s comment came after a botched military operation to sniff out rebels in Moyale city on March 10 left nine civilians dead and 12 injured.

The deadly shooting and the ensuing panic has already forced more than 8,000 people to flee to neighbouring Kenya.

Ethiopia’s Command Secretariat on Sunday said four soldiers, including a colonel, had been disarmed and put under arrest pending investigation.

Moyale that is near Kenyan 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.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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