Somalia kicks out top U.N. official, says he is persona non grata

Nicholas Haysom
Nicholas Haysom

Somalia’s government has ordered the top United Nations official in the country to leave, accusing him of interfering with national sovereignty days after he raised concerns about the actions of U.N.-supported Somali security forces.

The foreign affairs ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday that Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, “is not required and cannot work in this country”, effectively declaring the official persona non grata.

“The decision comes after he openly breached the appropriate conduct of the U.N. office in Somalia,” the statement read.

There was no immediate comment from the U.N. mission in the volatile, impoverished country in the Horn of Africa.

The United Nations is a major backer of Somalia, which is trying to claw its way out of the embers of the civil war that engulfed it in 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.

The government’s move comes after Haysom sent a letter dated Dec. 30 to the interior security minister expressing concern over “the alleged involvement of UN-supported Somali security forces in the arrest of Mukhtar Robow on 13 December, the deaths of 15 civilians…on 13, 14, and 15 December…and the arrest of approximately 300 people involved in the demonstrations on 13, 14, and 15 December”.

Robow, the individual referred to in the letter, is a former Islamist al Shabaab militant whose bid to become a regional leader in the country in an election last month was blocked.

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