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US diplomat to succeed ousted UN envoy for Somalia

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

A former US special representative to Somalia who also served as Washington's ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been tapped to be the next United Nations envoy to Somalia, replacing an emissary who was expelled four months ago.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council in a letter released Thursday that he plans to appoint James Swan as his envoy for Somalia.

Swan, who was also a US deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa and ambassador to Djibouti, will replace Nicholas Haysom, who was declared persona non grata by Somalia's government in January after he raised human rights concerns.

Swan's appointment is expected to be supported by the council, diplomats said.

Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced diplomat, was told to leave Somalia after he questioned the government's decision to arrest an Al-Shabaab defector who was running in elections.

He served in the post for three months.

The United Nations is seeking to shore up stability in Somalia, where al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab fighters have been fighting for a decade to topple the government.

Last week, a former Somali foreign minister was among five people who were killed in a car bombing in the capital Mogadishu that was claimed by Shabaab.

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