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Somalia declares UN envoy persona non-grata, citing interference.

The Somali government on Tuesday accused the United Nations special envoy of “violating protocols” and “deliberately interfering” in the internal affairs of the Horn of Africa country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation declared Nicholas Haysom, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Somalia, a “persona non-grata,” saying the UN envoy is not welcome in the nation.

The ministry said in a statement that the 66-year-old is unwanted and cannot operate in the country.

The drastic move by Somalia came after the UN envoy asked clarification from the government on whether UN-supported forces were involved in the shooting of demonstrators in the southern city of Baidoa last month.

In his letter, Haysom demanded answers from the government about the legal basis for arresting former al-Shabab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow who was the main challenger in the South West State elections for regional presidency.

Robow’s arrest sparked clashes between Robow’s supporters and Somali security forces on Dec. 13-15, resulting in the death of more than 10 people.

The UN envoy also inquired about actions the government had taken to investigate circumstances surrounding the deaths of civilians in Baidoa during demonstrations.

There was no immediate comment from Haysom on the government allegations.

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