March 13, 2013 (JUBA) - The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has appointed Maj. Gen. Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam, the new head of mission and force commander of its Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (UN)
Maj. Gen. Tesfamariam, an Ethiopian national succeeds Lt. Gen. Tadesse Werede Tesfay, who completed his assignment in January this year.
The new force commander, the UN said in a statement, brings to the position 35 years of experience attained during his military career in the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), which he served in various command capacities.
A holder of a Masters in Peace and Security Studies from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Maj. Gen. Tesfamariam worked as head of the peacekeeping department and military intelligence unit of the Ethiopian defense ministry.
He also served as the commander of the army corps and the Ethiopia government’s Commissioner for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).
Born in 1960, the new UNISFA head reportedly joined peacekeeping mission in September, last year as deputy force commander.
The UN Security Council, in November last year, renewed the mandate of UNISFA, which is composed of 4,000 Ethiopian troops, established following the seizure of the disputed oil-rich region by the Sudanese army in May 2011 after clashes with South Sudan army (SPLA) troops there.
Its main mandate is to ensure the redeployment of troops out of the contested area and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians.
The appointment of the new UNISFA force commander comes days after Sudan and South Sudan agreed to deploy their troops 10 kilometers from their current positions to their side of the border with each other as part of the security agreement.