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Another Eritrean UN Staff Member Is Detained

Another Eritrean UN Staff Member Is Detained By Their Country, UN Mission Says

New York, May 25 2006 5:00PM

Yet another Eritrean staff member serving with the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has been detained by the Eritrean authorities, the mission monitoring the disputed border between the Horn of Africa countries said today.

The move follows the release, earlier this month, of one of the 11 local UN staff members who have been detained by Eritrea. The mission has been awaiting a response from the Eritrean authorities to its letters asking why they had arrested the local staff members and expressing the hope that all of them would be released.

The border dispute led to a war between the two countries in the late 1990s. A binding decision by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission in 2002 awarded Badme – the town that triggered the bitter, two-year war – to Eritrea. Eritrea has become increasingly critical of the UN for not forcing Ethiopia to accept that demarcation and has subsequently restricted UNMEE’s movements by land and air.

The mission added that the military situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) remained tense, with routine troop movements observed on both sides.

UNMEE peacekeepers continued to provide medical assistance to the local population, along with supplies of water in bulk to civilian communities in the TSZ and adjacent areas. The communities received approximately 19,200 litres of water during the past week and the removal of land mines continued in the same areas.

ENDS

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