AU Removes Senior Diplomat from Somalia Mediation Team after Bias Allegations

Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – African Union special envoy for Somalia John Mahama, who has been recently named to broker a deal between Somali political stakeholders to bring an end to a long-simmering dispute over elections, has removed head of AMISOM’s political affairs office Babatunde Taiwo from his team of advisors.

It comes after Somali National Salvation Forum, an alliance of opposition presidential candidates, politicians and two regional states, raised concerns over “the inclusion of Mr Babatunde Taiwo, AMISOM’s Political Affairs Division, as a member of the Special Envoy’s team”.

It accused the man of being a “toxic influence in Somali politics” and of serving as “a proxy for Villa Somalia’s influence, … a paid agent of the National Intelligence and Security Agency and … a notorious broker of confidential information”.

The forum stressed that Taiwo’s inclusion in the special envoy’s team is “unacceptable” and called for him to be reassigned to another African Union mission.

In response to the protest by the Somali opposition, the African Union removed Mr Babatunde from a team of advisors for the special envoy to maintain impartiality and achieve objectives of last-ditch efforts aimed at ending elections stalemate in Somalia.

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