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Malian opposition expels UN mission rights chief

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The Malian interim government says the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission’s human rights division has been asked to leave the country within 48 hours after being declared persona non grata.

In a statement on Sunday, 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 January 27.

MINUSMA, as the UN mission in Mali is known, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 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 January 31, UN experts called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by both these forces.

“Since 2021, the experts have received persistent and alarming accounts of horrific executions, mass graves, acts of torture, rape and sexual violence, pillaging, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances perpetrated by Malian armed forces and their allies,” said the statement.

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 emphasised the authorities’ commitment to respecting human rights in accordance with international and national law.

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