Ethiopian Envoy Says No Targeted Arrests Made in Country Amid Claims of Detained Americans
© AP Photo / Mulugeta AyeneThousands of protestors from the capital and those displaced by ethnic-based violence over the weekend in Burayu, demonstrate to demand justice from the government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.
© AP Photo / Mulugeta Ayene
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Commenting on Washington's claims that Americans have been arrested in Ethiopia, the African country's ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, told Sputnik that there had been no targeted arrests made in the country.
A State Department official said earlier in the week that Washington was aware that US citizens had been arrested in Ethiopia and was in close contact with the government to discuss gaining access to those individuals.
"There are no targeted arrests or investigation because of ethnicity, nationality or other arbitrary criteria," Arega stated. "If there are any US citizens arrested, it is because of legally sufficient cause. The allegation that the US is aware of US citizens being arrested appears speculative and part of a larger narrative of disinformation on Ethiopia. If there are any arrests, that would be a criminal matter within the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor's Office and it would be inappropriate to comment."
The official called on American citizens in Ethiopia to leave the country immediately before the crisis there worsens.
"Under state of emergency there is heightened awareness of security threats; active measures are taken to prevent terrorist threats; anyone suspected of criminality by materially or otherwise aiding terrorists will be investigated under the state of emergency rules," Arega added.
The US Embassy in Ethiopia will be unable to assist Americans seeking to leave the country if commercial flight options are unavailable, and the Biden administration does not plan to send military aircraft to conduct evacuation operations, the diplomat said.
The United States continues to call on the warring parties in Ethiopia to negotiate an agreement to cease all hostilities, the official added.
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US diplomatic engagement with the Ethiopian government and other partners in the region continues, according to Arega.
Earlier in November, the Ethiopian parliament declared a six-month state of emergency throughout the country to protect the population from the rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, who are advancing upon the country's capital, Addis Ababa. This development prompted several countries to start evacuating their diplomatic missions from Ethiopia.