The United Nations (UN) said on Nov. 9 that the Ethiopian federal government in capital Addis Ababa detained 16 of its local staff members “against their will” amid the escalating year-long conflict.
UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York that 16 UN ethnic Tigrayan staffers were detained while six others were released.
“We are of course actively working with the government of Ethiopia to secure their immediate release,” Dujarric said.
Dujarric also said that no explanation was given on why the staffers were detained.
The detention came after the declaration of a six-month nationwide state of emergency in Ethiopia last week, which allows the government to arrest anyone suspected of supporting “terrorist groups” without a warrant.
Last September, the Ethiopian government expelled seven senior UN officials for “meddling” with its affairs.
The detention also came a day after UN Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths concluded a four-day trip to Ethiopia, where he met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and with leaders from rebel group Tigray People’s Liberation Front, to improve aid access to affected civilians.
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