Ethiopian troops killed 15 rebels in the country's restive east and arrested two Swedish journalists who were with them, an Ethiopian official said Monday.
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were lightly wounded in last week's clash between troops and rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which the Ethiopian government considers a terrorist organization.
The journalists were given medical treatment and are in police custody in the city of Jijiga, government spokesman Shimeles Kamal said.
Shimeles said Schibbye was wounded in the shoulder and Persson has a bullet wound in his hand.
"The injuries are all very minor," he said.
He said one of the journalists had previously been deported from Ethiopia for engaging with the same group. However, a Swedish colleague of the journalists denied that.
Journalists are prohibited from traveling freely in Somali region, known as the Ogaden, which borders Somalia.
Swedish journalist Anna Roxvall said that the two freelancers had entered Ethiopia last Monday from Somalia to report about allegations of human rights violations in the region including torture and rape.
Activists have repeatedly accused the Ethiopian government of human rights violations in the Ogaden, and of blocking aid groups from having free access to the region. The Ethiopian government has denied the reports of widespread abuses and says rebels have committed abuses and killed civilians.
In its 2010 report on human rights in Ethiopia, the U.S. State Department said there were "credible reports of involvement of security forces in the killings and other abuses of civilians" in the Somali region of Ethiopia.
The Ogaden has been mired in a low-level insurgency since the early 1990s, when the ONLF intensified its attacks in a fight for greater autonomy.
Ethiopia, an American ally, is one of the world's largest recipients of development aid, receiving more than $3 billion in 2008, according to Human Rights Watch.
Associated Press writer Malin Rising contributed to this report from Stockholm.