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31.05.2019 Mali

US diplomat succeeds ousted UN envoy for Somalia

By AFP
Somalia is wracked by attacks carried out by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militia which has been fighting to topple the government in Mogadishu for a decade.  By Mohamed ABDIWAHAB (AFP/File)
MAY 31, 2019 MALI
Somalia is wracked by attacks carried out by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militia which has been fighting to topple the government in Mogadishu for a decade. By Mohamed ABDIWAHAB (AFP/File)

A former US special representative to Somalia who also served as Washington's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was named Thursday to be the next United Nations envoy to Somalia, replacing an emissary who was expelled four months ago.

James Swan will replace Nicholas Haysom, who was declared persona non grata by Somalia's government in January after he raised human rights concerns.

Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced diplomat, was told to leave Somalia after he questioned the government's decision to arrest an Al-Shabaab defector who was running for elected office.

He served in the post for three months.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq announced Swan's appointment, saying he was an "experienced diplomat with a long international career." Haq said he was expected to take up the post as soon as possible.

Swan was US ambassador to the DR Congo from 2013 to 2016, US envoy for Somalia from 2011 to 2013 and US ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011. He also served as US deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa.

The United Nations is seeking to shore up stability in Somalia, where al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab fighters have been fighting for a decade to topple the government.

Last week a former Somali foreign minister was among five people killed in a car bombing in the capital Mogadishu that was claimed by Shabaab.

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