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Somalia orders top UN envoy to leave

Somalia orders top UN envoy to leave

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s government has ordered the UN top envoy to the troubled country to leave, accusing him of “deliberately in­­t­er­fe­ring with the country’s sovereignty”.

The ord­er comes days after the official, Nicho­las Haysom, rai­sed concerns at the action of Somalia’s UN-backed security services in recent violence that left several people dead.

“The Special Representa­tive of the UN Secretary-Gen­eral for Somalia, Nicho­las Haysom, is no longer welcome in Somalia and cannot operate in the country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday. There was no immediate reaction from the UN mission in Somalia.

Somalia’s security forces used force to put down three days of demonstrations in the town of Baidoa on Dec 13-15, with at least 15 people killed and 300 people arre­sted, according to the UN.

Protesters were angry at the arrest of Muktar Robow, a former Islamist leader who was vying for the post of regional presidency of South West State.

Haysom wrote to the Somali government on Dec 30, requesting details of the legal basis of the arrest of Robow, as well as calling for investigations into the deaths in the protests following his detention.

The UN had reviewed a recent video recording of the police commissioner in South West State, in which the commander warned of shooting in the bottom anyone who protested without permission, Haysom said.

Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced dip­­­lomat who was previously the UN special envoy to Sud­­­an and South Sudan, was ap­­pointed to the post in Soma­lia in September 2018.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019

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