Somalia Expels AU envoy for leaked audio scandal

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Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble declared the Special Representative of the African Union Chairperson Francisco Madeira persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country within 48 hours.

“The office of the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia has the honor to notify the AU Commission Chairperson that the Somali Government declares the Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia (SRCC), Ambassador Francisco Madeira persona non grata,” Somali Premier said in a statement.

“The Somali Government requests the AU Commission to recall Ambassador Francisco Madeira and comply with this request. We welcome the new AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and looking forward to working with the new mission head.”

Madeira, a Mozambican who was named to the office in 2015, has been accused of “engaging in acts that are incompatible with his status”.

A leaked audio seemed to show him launch a stinging attack on the Somali Prime Minister, two former presidents and their tribe while at the same time defending the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s use of military force against his opponents and in alleged attempts to tighten his grip on power.

Somali President said he did not authorize the move announced by the Prime Minister and invalidated the decision to expel Madeira, months after reports emerged that both men had been secretly cooperating on efforts to crack down on opposition.

“[Farmajo] has received no complaints of interference with its sovereignty and doesn’t endorse illegal action against Amb. Francisco Madeira. Our Foreign policy is not anchored on emotions and vested interests and we value all our state-building process partners,” Somali President said in a statement.

“As an AU founding member, Somalia deeply appreciates AU’s solid role and sacrifice in contributing to Somalia’s peace and stability.”

The embattled Somali leader also instructed Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to convey FGS’s apologies to the AU on the illegitimate and reckless decision from an authorized office”.

On Tuesday, Roble said there were strong local and foreign coalitions working to undermine his government’s last-ditch efforts to conclude ongoing parliamentary polls on schedule and urged Somalis to unify their stance in countering an “invasion” on the country. 

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