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At Least 16 UN Staff Held In Ethiopia amid Push to End War

At Least 16 UN Staff Held In Ethiopia amid Push to End War
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By Staff, Agencies

At least 16 United Nations [UN] staff and dependents are detained in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, a spokesperson announced on Tuesday.

"We are, of course, actively working with the government of Ethiopia to secure their immediate release," UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters, Reuters reported.

Dujarric declined to answer a question considering the ethnicity of those arrested, saying that he would “like to see them released, whatever ethnicity is listed on their identity cards."

The state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission disclosed on Sunday that it received many reports of arrests of Tigrayans in the region, including mothers and elderly people.

Head of the commission Daniel Bekele mentioned that they were monitoring “the arrests of hundreds of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa.”

State police deny allegations of detaining people based on ethnicity, saying that they only target supporters of the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF].

Fasika Fanta, spokesperson for the Addis Ababa police, and government spokesman Legesse Tulu told Reuters they had no information on the arrests of UN staff.

"Those that have been detained are Ethiopians who violate the law," said Legesse.

The year-long conflict in northern Ethiopia between the government and the TPLF recently intensified after Tigrayan militants threatened to march on the capital.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on November 2, permitting the government to arbitrarily arrest anyone suspected of collaborating with terrorist groups.

Ethiopia’s parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist group earlier this year.