Burkina Faso expels top UN official in West African country

Dec 22, 2022, 7:23 PM | Updated: Dec 23, 2022, 9:30 am

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Burkina Faso’s government expelled the top U.N. official in the country on Friday, asking her to leave immediately, officials said.

Barbara Manzi, the United Nations’ resident and humanitarian coordinator in the West African nation, was declared persona non grata, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

Burkina Faso has been wracked by violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that has killed thousands and displaced nearly 2 million people — creating a growing humanitarian crisis. Lack of faith in the government’s ability to stem the violence has led to two military coups this year.

While no reason was given in the statement for her expulsion, foreign minister Olivia Rouamba said on state television Friday that Manzi had raised the alarm about insecurity in the capital, Ouagadougou, without providing evidence.

“She affirmed that she has information from reliable sources without agreeing to give any proof,” Rouamba said. She also said Manzi told her she was in touch with “terrorist leaders” and questioned how Manzi was able to easily access the besieged town of Djibo in the Sahel region while the country’s security forces were unable to.

Manzi, who was appointed U.N. Resident Coordinator in August last year, often traveled to hard hit parts of the country to try to raise awareness about the deteriorating humanitarian crisis. The Italy native has extensive experience with the U.N., working as the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ukraine, Iraq, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Before Burkina Faso, she was the resident coordinator in Djibouti.

The United Nations wouldn’t immediately comment on the decision. Diplomats in Burkina Faso said they were caught by surprise, according to a Western official who wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Manzi’s expulsion comes amid a government crackdown on the international community. Last week, two French citizens were expelled from the country over accusations of espionage, and earlier this month, the government suspended French broadcaster Radio France Internationale for having relayed an “intimidation message” attributed to a “terrorist,” according to a statement from the junta.

The decision to expel Manzi is a worrying sign and will make it harder for humanitarian groups to operate, aid organizations say.

“The abhorrent decision to designate Barbara Manzi, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator/resident coordinator, a PNG (persona non grata) is a sign that this dangerous trend line not only continues under the current regime but is worsening,” said Alexandra Lamarche, senior fellow at Refugees International.

“Over the years, these types of intimidation tactics have attempted to force aid groups not to report on the true extent of the crisis or the government and national security forces’ role in perpetuating violence against civilians, forcibly them, and fueling humanitarian needs,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Myanmar resistance steadfast against army rule 2 years later

BANGKOK (AP) — The prospects for peace in Myanmar, much less a return to democracy, seem dimmer than ever two years after the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, experts say. On Wednesday, legions of opponents of military rule heeded a call by protest organizers to stay home in […]
23 hours ago
Rescue workers and people gather at the site of Monday's suicide bombing after authorities finished...
Associated Press

Peshawar, the city of flowers, becomes epicenter of violence

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s Peshawar was once known as “the city of flowers,” surrounded by orchards of pear, quince and pomegranate trees. It was a trading city, situated at the gates of a key mountain valley connecting South and Central Asia. But for the past four decades, it has borne the brunt of rising […]
23 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
23 hours ago
FILE - Taiwanese Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi along a runway during a drill at an airbase in Hsinc...
Associated Press

Taiwan activates defenses in response to China incursions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan scrambled fighter jets, put its navy on alert and activated missile systems in response to nearby operations of 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships that are part Beijing’s strategy to unsettle and intimidate the self-governing island democracy. The large-scale Chinese deployment comes as Beijing increases preparations for a potential […]
23 hours ago
In this Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 photo, Beth Caruso, author and co-founder of the CT Witch Trial Exon...
Associated Press

Connecticut may exonerate accused witches centuries later

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Decades before the infamous Salem witch trials in Massachusetts, Alse Young was killed at the gallows in Connecticut, becoming the first person on record to be executed in the American colonies for witchcraft. The Windsor town clerk registered the death on May 26, 1647, in a diary entry that read: “Alse […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Burkina Faso expels top UN official in West African country