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Guterres appoints new commander for Abyei force


António Guterres (UN Photo)
February 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres Thursday appointed an Ethiopian general as Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

The new UNISFA Major General Tesfay Gidey Hailemichael succeeds Major General Hassen Ebrahim Mussa, who completed his assignment on 17 January 2017.

He has had a long and distinguished career with the Ethiopian Armed Forces spanning over thirty-three years. He graduated from the Ethiopian Defence Command and Staff College (1995) and is currently the Head of the Defence Logistics Department in the Ethiopian Army since April 2014.

Sudan and South Sudan have failed to run a referendum on the fate of the contested Abyei area which lies on the border between the two countries.

Initially, UNISFA was 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.

In accordance with the resolution 1990 (2011) UNISFA’s main mandate is to ensure the redeployment of Sudanese and South Sudanese troops out of the contested area of Abyei and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians.

On 29 May 2013, the Security Council increased UNISFA military strength to 5,326 troops and tasked it with the support for the operational activities of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, established by the Sudan-South Sudan Cooperation Agreement of 27 September 2012.


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