Burkina Faso government expels senior UN official

Violence from multiple armed groups in Burkina Faso has displaced more than two million people.

A military vehicle is seen in front of Burkina Faso national television, in Ouagadougou
A military vehicle in front of Burkina Faso national television, in Ouagadougou on October 1, 2022 [Olympia de Maismont/AFP]

Burkina Faso’s military government in a statement on Friday ordered senior United Nations official Barbara Manzi to leave the country immediately, without giving a reason.

When contacted, a government spokesperson did not immediately say why it had labelled Manzi, the UN’s resident coordinator in Burkina Faso, as “persona non grata” and demanded that she leave on Friday.

A spokesperson at the UN headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been in the grip of a conflict in which armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group have killed thousands of civilians and created one of the continent’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises.

Nearly two million people have been displaced and reside in makeshift camps, many run by the UN, that dot the arid countryside.

The violence, which has rumbled on for about seven years, has been focused in the north and east, crippling local economies, causing mass hunger, and restricting access to aid organisations.

The UN has provided some essential services, including supplying food for thousands of malnourished children.

Manzi, who has experience in humanitarian activities in developing countries, was appointed to the post in Burkina Faso last year.

Source: Reuters