The Somali government said of Haysom, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, that he “is not required and cannot work in this country”, a de facto declaration that he was “persona non grata”.

In a statement, the Somali government said Haysom breached what it described as “appropriate conduct”.

It is believed that the Somali government was infuriated by a letter from Haysom to the country’s interior minister dated December 31 in which the UN official expressed concern over “the alleged involvement of UN-supported Somali security forces in the arrest of Mukhtar Robow.”

Rabbow is a former Islamist al Shabaab militant. His bid to become an elected regional leader in the southwestern region of the country was blocked.

The country’s interior ministry said Rabbow’s arrest was on suspicions that he brought weapons and militants into the city of Baidoa, capital of Somalia’s South West region where he was running for office.

The arrest sparked violent clashes between Rabbow militiamen and Somali forces

The letter from Haysom also expressed concern over the deaths of 15 civilians in the operation and the arrests of an estimated 300 people in mid-December 2018.

For more than 10 years, Al Shabaab has been struggling to topple the government in Mogadishu and to set up a government on Islamic Law.

Unlike other Al Shabaab fighters, Rabbow renounced violence in 2017 and recognized the federal government in Mogadishu.

The African Union, which has peacekeepers in Somalia, on Wednesday denied reports that its troops were involved in the arrest of Rabbow.

[Photo of Nicholas Haysom courtesy of AP/Massoud Hoaaini]

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