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UN appoints new force commander for Abyei mission

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UNISFA peacekeepers play with Misseriya children in Abyei on 6 March 2019 (UINISFA photo)
June 15, 2020 (JUBA) - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres Monday announced the appointment of Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema of Ethiopia as Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Tessema succeeds Major General Mehari Zewde Gebremariam who will complete his assignment on 7 July 2020.

The new UNISFA force commander has a distinguished military career with the Ethiopian Armed Forces spanning more than 30 years. He has also been a Council Member of the Ethiopian Ministry of National Defence since 2017. Recently, he served as the Head of Main Engineering Department of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces.

Also, he served as the Western Command Commander from 2017 to 2018, Deputy Central Commander from 2016 to 2017 and the Division Commander from 2012 to 2016. In 2015, he served as an AMISOM Sector Commander in Somalia.

Major General Tessema holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Ashland University in the United States and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Command and Control of Military Unity and Formation from the Russian Federation Compound Force Academy.

The UNISFA was established on 27 June 2011 after the signing of an agreement on the border disputed Abyei area between Sudan and the SPLM ahead of the South Sudan independence.

The two parties agreed to demilitarize the area and to deploy Ethiopian troops to monitor the agreement implementation. Also, the mission has the authority to open fire in self-defence, to protect civilians and humanitarian aid.

(ST)

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