Burundi is expelling its national head of the World Health Organisation at a time when politicians are pressing ahead with large election rallies despite warnings against mass gatherings.

The government confirmed on Thursday (May 14) that a letter had been sent to WHO country head Walter Kazadi Mulombo and three aides ordering them out by Friday (May 15), while a foreign affairs ministry official confirmed they had been declared “persona non grata”, without giving any reasons.

On May 20, Burundi will vote for a successor to President Pierre Nkurunziza – whose government has a history of expelling representatives of international organizations.

In 2018, U.N. investigators probing allegations of rights abuses were kicked out of the country. The United Nations has previously accused security personnel and a ruling party militia of orchestrating gang rapes, torture and killings.

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