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Ethiopian named new head of UN force in Abyei

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November 21, 2014 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of Major General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha from Ethiopia as the new force commander of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

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UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon (UN)

He succeeds Lt. Gen. Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam who served as the force commander and head of mission till June.

Ki-moon, the UN said, praised Lt. Gen. Tesfamariam for his “dedication and effective leadership” at UNISFA and conveyed his appreciation to Maj. Gen. Halefom Moges for his service as acting head of the peacekeeping mission.

Maj. Gen. Gelalcha reportedly had a long and distinguished career with the Ethiopian army, most recently serving as the commander of the Western Command since 2010.

Prior to this, however, he served as deputy commander of the central command from 2006 until 2009, holding a number of important operational and staff positions, among them the division commander of Ethiopian army’s ministry of national defence from 1995 to 2000.

He also served as head of the cadet school from 2001 to 2003, chief of corps administration in 2004 and head of brigade operations from 1989 to 1997.

Born in 1965, Maj. Gen. Gelalcha holds a bachelor’s degree from Alpha University College in Addis Ababa and master’s degree from Greenwich University in Addis Ababa.

(ST).

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