Burkina Faso declares UN coordinator ‘persona non grata’ – DW – 12/23/2022

Burkina Faso’s military government declared the UN’s coordinator in the country “persona non grata” on Friday, calling on her to leave the country on the same day.

Burkinabe Foreign Minister Olivia Rouamba said UN coordinator Barbara Manzi’s decision to “unilaterally” withdraw nonessential UN staff from the capital, Ouagadougou, justified the move to expel her from the country.

Such withdrawal “discredits and tarnishes the image of the country and puts off potential investors. It’s unthinkable, and we have to take responsibility,” Rouamba said on national television.

The foreign minister added that Manzi had “predicted chaos in Burkina Faso in the coming months.” 

Only appointed in the post last summer, Manzi finds herself now accused of being a negative influence and of “interfering in the political affairs of Burkina,” AFP quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

The poor, landlocked West African country has been struggling with a militant insurgency and security upheavals recently. It witnessed two military coups this year alone.

Thousands flee violence in Burkina Faso

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What preceded Manzi’s expulsion?

The UN coordinator’s expulsion comes days after Burkina Faso expelled two French nationals working for a domestic company. They were accused of espionage.

Media organizations in the country have also reported a clampdown on their activities. The French state-owned radio broadcaster Radio France Internationale (RFI) was suspended in Burkina Faso earlier this month.

Manzi was named the UN resident coordinator in Burkina Faso last August. Previously, she had served in similar roles in Djibouti, Ukraine, Iraq, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

rmt/jcg (AFP, Reuters)

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