Eritrean authorities say they have arrested two locally-hired employees of the U.S. Embassy in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on charges of human trafficking.

Eritrea's Information Ministry said Thursday the two employees, Eritreans hired by the U.S. Embassy, would be held accountable for illegal activities related to human trafficking.

The U.S. embassy spokesman in Asmara had no comment on the arrests. Eritrean officials declined to elaborate on the alleged human trafficking or the individuals charged.

This is not the first time the Eritrean government has arrested locally-hired employees of the U.S. Embassy in Asmara. Two employees who were arrested in 2001 are still in custody.

The latest arrests add to an already tense relationship between the impoverished Horn of Africa country and the United States.

Last month, Eritrea halted relief operations by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington's foreign aid arm.

At the time, Eritrean officials said they were uncomfortable with the aid group's activities, but did not give details, according to a Western diplomat in the capital.