Somali PM orders expulsion of AU representative, President objects

Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Thursday ordered the expulsion of the African Union’s representative in the country, triggering a new row with President Farmajo, who described the decision as “illegal”.
The two men have regularly clashed in recent months, fuelling a political crisis that is delaying the organization of the presidential election expected for more than a year in this unstable country in the Horn of Africa, plagued for 15 years by the Islamist insurgency of the Shebab.
Roble’s office said in a statement Thursday morning that it was declaring Francisco Madeira “persona non grata for engaging in acts inconsistent with his status as a representative of the African Union Commission,” ordering him to leave Somalia within 48 hours.
The statement gave no details on the reasons for the decision targeting Madeira, a Mozambican diplomat who has been the AU Commission head’s special representative in Somalia since 2015.
Hours later, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, objected to the statement.
The president “has not received any complaint about interference in his sovereignty and does not approve of any illegal action against Ambassador Francisco Madeira,” a statement from the presidency said.
Recalling that “Farmajo is the custodian and guarantor of the country’s sovereignty,” the presidency said he has instructed the foreign minister “to convey the Federal Government’s apology to the AU for the illegitimate and reckless decision of an unauthorized department” to do so.
The African Union has a presence in Somalia through a peacekeeping force, which was deployed in 2007 as the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Last week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend this force until the end of 2024, in a reconfigured mission renamed the Transitional Mission in Somalia (Atmis).