Ethiopia rounds up high-profile Tigrayans, U.N. staff

Ethiopian authorities have rounded up high-profile Tigrayans - from a bank CEO to priests - as well as United Nations staff in a mass crackdown on suspected supporters of rebellious northern forces, people linked to the detainees told Reuters.

Police denied targeting the Tigrayan ethnic group, saying those arrested were believed to have links to the Tigray People's Liberation Front -- or TPLF -- which has fought central government for a year.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency last week that permits the government to arbitrarily arrest, without a court order, anyone suspected of collaborating with a terrorist group. Parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist group earlier this year.

The state of emergency also requires citizens to carry ID cards that can indicate ethnic origin.

The war has killed thousands, forced more than two million people from their homes, sucked in troops from neighboring Eritrea and left hundreds of thousands in famine.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said he believes all sides see the dangers of perpetuating the conflict and warned there is no military resolution to the differences between the parties.

"There is an opportunity, I hope, for everyone to pull back, to sit down, to get a halt to what's happening on the ground, and ultimately, to produce a ceasefire, to have access for humanitarian assistance and over time to negotiate a more durable political resolution."

The United Nations said on Tuesday at least 16 Ethiopian staff and dependents were detained but has not specified their ethnicity. On Wednesday, it said nine were still in custody.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said the arrests of Tigrayans were at least in the hundreds, including elderly people and mothers with children.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting