A slow-burning political crisis in Somalia deepens as the Prime Minister and the President wrangle over the expulsion of the African Union envoy to the country.
Somalia's feuding leaders were locked in a new dispute after the prime minister ordered the expulsion of the African Union's envoy to the troubled country.
Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble's office said on Thursday it had declared Francisco Madeira persona non grata "for engaging in acts that are incompatible with his status as representative of the African Union Commission" and ordered him to leave Somalia within 48 hours.
The statement posted on Twitter did not elaborate on the reasons for Roble's decision about Madeira, a Mozambican diplomat who has been the AU Commission chief's special representative to Somalia since 2015.
Somali Government declares the Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia (SRCC), Ambassador Francisco Madeira persona non grata for engaging in acts that are incompatible with his status and is ordered to leave Somalia within 48 hours. pic.twitter.com/wyRvDZryqw— SomaliPM (@SomaliPM) April 6, 2022
Presidency: 'Received no complaints'
But the office of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, described his rival's action against Madeira as illegal.
The presidency said on Twitter it "has received no complaints of interference with its sovereignty & doesn't endorse any illegal action against Amb. Francisco Madeira".
It said Farmajo has instructed the foreign ministry to apologise to the AU over the "illegitimate and reckless decision from an unauthorised office".
It is not clear who holds sway over the role of the AU representative in the country.
Last week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously for a new peacekeeping force for the Horn of Africa nation, where Al Shabab militants have been seeking to overthrow the fragile government for more than a decade.
Somalia: Office of the Prime Minister releases statement declaring African Union chair’s special representative to Somalia, Francisco Madeira, persona non grata.— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) April 7, 2022
The Presidency has since released a statement saying it “disowns and nullifies the illegal action” pic.twitter.com/fvmecqJFtc
The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) replaces the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which was created by the Security Council in 2007.
Drawn from across Africa, the mission drove Al Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011, creating enough stability for government and federal agencies to take shape, and two rounds of elections to be held.
But a bitter power struggle between Farmajo and Roble has hindered efforts to hold long-delayed elections after the expiry of the president's mandate in February 2021.