A total of 17 soldiers were injured over the weekend in a traffic accident in southern Colombia, health officials said.

The vehicle carrying the soldiers fipped over Saturday night in a rural area outside La Plata, a city in Huila province, as the soldiers from Task Force Zeus were returning to their base after a search and control operation, the Huila Health Secretariat said.

The injured soldiers were taken to hospitals in Neiva, the capital of Huila, the secretariat said.

Eleven injured soldiers were admitted to Neiva's Hospital Universitario, emergency room chief Andres Rubiano told the El Tiempo newspaper.

Four of the soldiers sustained severe head injuries and are listed in serious condition, Rubiano said.

The accident was caused by mechanical problems, army spokesmen told radio stations. EFE