U.N. rep returns to Somalia after 17 years

Story highlights

  • The U.N. special representative for Somalia will be based in that country
  • For years, that office was based outside Somalia
  • The United Nations has had staff and other offices in the country during that time
A top U.N. representative for Somalia will be based in that country -- for the first time in 17 years.
Augustine P. Mahiga, the special representative for the U.N. secretary-general for Somalia, on Tuesday moved his office back to Mogadishu, Somalia's capital. The U.N. Political Office for Somalia had been based outside the country for nearly two decades.
"I sincerely hope that the arrival of the U.N. Political Office will mark the start of renewed hope for the future of Somalia," Mahiga said in a statement.
He added that being in Mogadishu will allow the United Nations to work more closely with nongovernmental organizations "already based here, civil society and ordinary Somalis. We have much to do and we are eager to get straight to work."
The last special representative to be based in Mogadishu was in 1995, the agency said.
The U.N. office was established shortly afterward but was in Nairobi.
However, staff remained in Somalia throughout that time, and six U.N. agencies have permanent staff in Mogadishu, according to the United Nations.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali welcomed Mahiga at the airport Tuesday.