Security personnels patrol on the street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhao Yingquan)
ADDIS ABABA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government said Sunday nine civilians were mistakenly killed and 12 injured by soldiers in Southern Ethiopia in an operation to sniff out rebels.
In a press statement, the Ethiopia Command Post Secretariat said the incident happened on Saturday when an army unit deployed around Moyale city on the border with Kenya to intercept suspected Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fighters opened fire on civilians on a basis of mistaken information.
The press statement further said a colonel and five other soldiers have been disarmed and put under arrest pending investigation regarding the deadly incident.
Moyale is in Oromia regional state, which has been 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 the dangers that would arise from the ongoing violent demonstrations in different parts of the country.
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.