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Mali expels UN mission’s human rights chief

BAMAKO — The Malian interim government on Sunday said the head of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission’s human rights division had 48 hours to leave the country as he had been declared persona non grata.

In a statement, it said the decision to expel Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali was connected to his allegedly biased choice of civil society witnesses for UN Security Council briefings on Mali, the most recent of which was held on Jan. 27.

The UN mission in Mali MINUSMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Andali could not be reached for comment.

The Malian authorities have come under pressure for alleged human rights violations and abuses reportedly perpetrated by Malian armed forces in partnership with the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group in Mali.

On Jan. 31, UN experts called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by both these forces.

The Malian government, which took power in a 2021 military coup, on Saturday released a statement that pushed back against some of the UN allegations and emphasized the authorities’ commitment to respecting human rights in accordance with international and national law. — Reuters

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