U.N. says at least 16 staff, dependents detained in Ethiopia By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A soldier with the Tigrayan forces reads a guide as he guards the headquarters of the Tigrai Mass Media Company in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray area, Ethiopia, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Giulia Paravicini/File Photograph

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) -At the very least 16 United Nations employees and dependents have been detained within the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, a U.N. spokesperson stated on Tuesday, amid reviews of widespread arrests of ethnic Tigrayans.

“We’re, in fact, actively working with the federal government of Ethiopia to safe their speedy launch,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric instructed reporters in New York.

He declined to reply a query on the ethnicity of these detained, saying: “These are United Nations employees members, they’re Ethiopians…, and we want to see them launched, no matter ethnicity is listed on their id playing cards.”

The state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Fee stated on Sunday it had acquired many reviews of arrests of Tigrayans within the capital, together with elders and moms with kids.

Daniel Bekele, head of the fee, instructed Reuters on Tuesday that it was monitoring “the arrests of a whole bunch of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa”.

Police have denied making ethnically motivated arrests, saying they’re solely concentrating on supporters of the rebellious Tigrayan forces combating the central authorities.

Fasika Fanta, spokesperson for the Addis Ababa police, and authorities spokesman Legesse Tulu instructed Reuters that they had no info on the arrests of U.N. employees.

“These which have been detained are Ethiopians who violate the regulation,” stated Legesse.

The U.S. State Division stated Washington finds the reviews of arrests of U.N. employees members “regarding”, including that harassment and detention on the idea of ethnicity is totally unacceptable.

“The reviews do are inclined to counsel an arrest based mostly on ethnicity and that’s one thing that if confirmed, we’d strongly condemn. So no matter we will do to safe the discharge of those people, we will likely be ready to do,” State Division spokesman Ned Value instructed reporters.

The year-long battle in northern Ethiopia between the federal government and Tigrayan forces loyal to the Tigray Folks’s Liberation Entrance (TPLF) has intensified in latest weeks after he TPLF pushed southward. Tigrayan forces and their allies have threatened to march on the capital.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Nov 2. That allows the federal government to arbitrarily arrest, with out a courtroom order, anybody suspected of collaborating with a terrorist group. Parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist group earlier this yr.

Britain tightened its journey recommendation on Tuesday, advising residents to go away Ethiopia whereas industrial flights can be found, after the USA on Nov. 5 suggested all residents to go away Ethiopia as quickly as attainable.

Zambia evacuated non-essential employees from Ethiopia on Tuesday, its international ministry stated.


Diplomatic efforts proceed to attempt to lay the bottom for talks and avert an assault on the Ethiopian capital, dwelling to five million individuals.

“Our place stays that there could be no army answer to this battle and solely dialogue can produce a long-lasting peace,” Britain’s minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, instructed journalists.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo is in Ethiopia on behalf of the African Union to attempt to facilitate talks. The TPLF’s spokesperson, Getachew Reda, instructed Reuters that they had held discussions with him.

“He wished to know if we imagine there may be the potential for a political answer to this drawback. We stated sure,” he instructed Reuters. However, Getachew added, “we aren’t keen to retreat due to the siege, due to the blockade.”

The United Nations has accused the federal government of working a de facto blockade stopping humanitarian assist from coming into Tigray. The federal government has denied blocking assist.

Getachew additionally stated {that a} authorities air strike had killed dozens within the city of Chefa Robit and there had been drone and air strikes on Wollo College in Dessie and the city of Chifra in Afar.

Reuters was unable to independently verify his account as communications to these areas are down. Authorities and army spokespeople didn’t return calls looking for remark.

The State Division stated Washington believes there’s a small window of a gap to work with the African Union to make progress on peacefully resolving the battle.

The U.S. Particular Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, returned to Addis Ababa on Monday and stays in Ethiopia, Value stated on Tuesday.

Authorities spokesperson Legesse and international affairs ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the talks.

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