Somalia expels top UN official for ‘interfering with internal affairs’


Somalia has asked top UN official Nicholas Haysom to leave the country “as soon as possible” after accusing him of “interfering with the country’s internal affairs”.

Somalia’s ministry of foreign affairs on Tuesday said in a statement that the UN secretary general’s special envoy to the country “is not required and cannot work in this country”. The move comes after Haysom called upon the government to investigate a former al-Shabaab leader that allegedly resulted in 15 civilians being killed.

Top UN officials expelled by Somalia

In early December, UN-backed Somali security forces arrested a former al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow in Baidoa. During the operation, 15 civilians were reportedly killed and approximately 300 people were detained, most of whom were children. UN special envoy Haysom responded by asking the government what measures have been put in place to prevent civilian casualties during security operations and urged it to investigate the incident.

Local elders and residents in Baidoa have supported Haysom’s calls for an investigation but the government has accused the UN official of interfering in internal affairs on multiple occasions. Speaking to the BBC Somali service, foreign minister Ahmed Isse Awad said the government has no problem with the United Nations in Somalia but singled out Haysom, accusing him of believing he is the country’s ruler.

Former al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Robow defected from the terrorist group in 2017 and was welcomed back to the capital Mogadishu after the US lifted a $5m reward for his capture in August. However, he was banned from running in a regional election in October amid accusations of bringing fighters into Baidoa, where he still has the support of his clan.

Featured image: Public domain

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.