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Eritrea Accuses 5 UN Workers of Spying, Orders Them to Leave


Eritrea has accused five United Nations workers of spying and ordered them to leave the country within 24 hours.

A statement published Tuesday on the Web site of Eritrea's Information Ministry said officials apprehended the workers while they were "deploying spy networks, recruiting mercenary agents and providing radio communications facilities."

The workers are from Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, Liberia and Trinidad and Tobago.

United Nations officials have not responded to the charges.

Last week, Eritrean police arrested a U.N. staff member they accused of attempting to smuggle young people and property out of Eritrea in official vehicles. U.N. officials later protested the detention and said they were trying to secure the release of the worker.

U.N. peacekeepers are overseeing the implementation of a ceasefire agreement signed in 2000 by Eritrea and Ethiopia. The neighboring countries fought a two-year border war that killed about 7,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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