An army officer and seven soldiers are being detained in connection with the killing of 22 people in rural southern Mexico, an encounter that the military initially reported as a shootout but that a witness later described as a massacre.

The Mexican Defense Department said in a statement late Thursday that the eight were involved in the June 30 incident in San Pedro Limon, but did not specify how. They were being held at a prison in Mexico City on charges of crimes against military discipline, disobedience and dereliction of duty.

The statement said the military charges are being pursued “independently of the investigations that civil authorities are carrying out under their jurisdiction.”

The federal Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a criminal probe of the killings, had no immediate comment.

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