United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr of Nigeria as Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Major General Sawyerr “succeeds Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema of Ethiopia to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedication, invaluable service and effective leadership during his appointment with UNISFA,” the statement reads.
In January, Sudan announced that the United Nations (UN) has agreed to replace thousands of Ethiopian forces within the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) with other UN forces. Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan received a phone call from UN Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, in which the two sides discussed arrangements for replacing the Ethiopian forces within UNISFA with other UN forces upon Sudan’s request, the sovereign council said in a statement.
Mainly composed of Ethiopian forces of around 4,200 troops and 50 police personnel, the UN Security Council established UNISFA in 2011 to monitor the Abyei border.
The size of the contingent was later increased to 5,326, all of whom are from Ethiopia.
Rising tension between Sudan and Ethiopia has strained lately leading to deadly skirmishes along the border between both countries since September 2020.
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