UN: 16 local staff detained in Ethiopia

The United Nations says authorities in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, have detained 16 local staff members.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday that some local staff have been detained over the past few days, and that 16 people remain in detention.

Dujarric said the UN was given no reason for the detentions, and stressed, "We, of course, are actively working with the government to secure their immediate release."

Ethiopia declared a nationwide state of emergency earlier this month over fighting that has continued since November last year between government troops and the ethnic minority forces that control the country's northern region, Tigray.

The UN dispatched Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths to the country. He met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other officials, and called for efforts to improve the humanitarian situation.

The UN Security Council issued a statement last Friday, calling for talks toward a ceasefire. The council also met on Monday to discuss steps to de-escalate the situation.