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Ban Ki-Moon appoints Nigerian General to lead UNMIS peacekeepers

June 10, 2010(KHARTOUM) – UN chief, Ban Ki Moon, Thursday has appointed a Nigerian general as the new the new Force Commander of the nine thousand soldier deployed mostly in southern Sudan as part of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

A security guard watches over the construction of the new UN House, which will serve as the base for UN activities in southern Sudan and the future home of UNMIS. (T. McKulla UN)

Major General Moses Bisong Obi previously served in senior posts in two UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). He also commanded the regional Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group (ECOMOG).

He replaces Lieutenant General Paban Jung Thapa of Nepal.

UNMIS was established in 2005 to support the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war in southern Sudan. The UN estimated at least 2 million people were killed and some 4.5 million displaced from their homes.

Deployed in southern Sudan, Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, the 9,500 UNMIS soldiers are tasked with monitoring and verifying lines of disengagement, assembly areas, redeployment of forces and formation of Joint Integrated Units (JIUs).

The peacekeepers have to protect the UN staffers but also civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, within the force’s capability.