Mogadishu, Feb 01 (Agencies): At least 17 civilians were killed on Monday when a Somali government soldier fired on a crowd in Mogadishu, said hospital sources and eye witnesses.

People at the place said the soldier accidentally triggered an anti-aircraft machine gun after a dispute with other soldiers on a crowded street in the south of the Somali capital.

"There was a disaster in Mogadishu today. We have received around 56 injured people, 12 bodies and five others died of their injuries at the hospital," said Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Mogadishu's Madina hospital.

"On behalf of the Somali government, the President, Prime Minister and the Speaker, we are very sorry about the sad incident…," said Defence Minister Abdihakin Mohamed Fiqi.

"We will help the wounded and promise to bring those behind the brutal killing to justice," the minister added.