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Somali opposition protests inclusion of AMISOM’s Taiwo in mediation talks, terms him ‘toxic influence’

Sunday May 9, 2021

MOGADISHU (HOL) - The opposition in Somalia has called for the withdrawal of AMISOM head of political affairs Taiwo Babatunde in the AU mediation team, terming him a ‘toxic influence’ in Somali politics.

The National Salvation Front, an umbrella of 15 presidential candidates, Jubbaland and Puntland states and the pro-union Somaliland caucus told the AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki that Taiwo’s inclusion risks eroding the AU mediation team’s confidence.

“Mr. Taiwo is well known to the NSF as a toxic influence in Somali politics: he serves as a proxy for Villa Somalia’s influence, is a paid agent of the National Intelligence and Security Agency and is a notorious broker of confidential information,” NSF said in a hard-hitting letter to Faki.

“Excellency, Mr. Taiwo’s inclusion in the Special Envoy’s team is unacceptable to the NSF due to the corrupt nature of his relationship with Villa Somalia,” NSF added.
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The Forum called for the withdrawal of Taiwo from the team, and the task is assigned to another AU department of the mission. However, the NSF welcomed the appointment of former Ghanaian president John Mahama to lead the mediation, which is expected to unlock the electoral stalemate.

It was not immediately clear if the African Union communicated intend to replace Taiwo.


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