Ethiopian military mistakenly kills 9 civilians

Ethiopian military tanks sit in position on the outskirts of the town of Baidoa in Somalia in 2012.

Story highlights

  • Ethiopian soldiers accidentally killed 9 civilians.
  • The country remains in a state of emergency due to unrest.

(CNN)Ethiopian soldiers accidentally killed 9 civilians and injured 12 others in a military operation targeting insurgent militants, state media announced Sunday.

The civilians were mistakenly identified as members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), according to the government's Ethiopia News Agency (ENA), citing the military's Secretariat of the Command Post. The incident occurred in the Moyale area of the Oromia regional state in central Ethiopia.
The causalities occurred due to "wrong information that members of the force received" and was the result of an "inappropriate measure," the Secretariat of the Command Post said.
    The soldiers were deployed to the area to confront OLF militants, which the military claimed infiltrated the country to create turmoil, ENA reported.
    Ethiopia has experienced intense unrest and uncertainty since the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on February 15. Days later, the government announced a 6-month state of emergency to ensure the "security and stability of the country."
    With nine linguistic-based states, the country has long struggled with large scale ethnic protests and division. The Oromo people are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group but have been marginalized for decades and are often in conflict with the government.
    The soldiers involved in the accidental civilian killing have been detained and an official investigation has been launched. Following the completion of the investigation, the suspects will be tried in a military court, ENA reported.