Nigerian to head Darfur peacekeeping mission: UN

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Nigerian diplomat Ibrahim Gambari will become the new head of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn western Darfur region, the United Nations said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informed the Security Council about the appointment in a letter to Burkina Faso’s UN Ambassador Michel Kafando, the current council president, Ban’s spokesperson Marie Okabe said.

Gambari, a former Nigerian foreign minister and current UN special envoy to Myanmar, will take up his new post on January 1, 2010, Ban said in the letter.

Gambari, 65, is replacing Rodolphe Adada, a former foreign minister of the Republic of Congo, who resigned in August.

UN officials and diplomats in New York have said that Adada did not try hard enough to speed up the Darfur mission’s (UNAMID) deployment. Ban said in a report on Darfur last month that there are nearly 20 000 UNAMID troops and police on the ground, below the mission’s mandated full strength of 26 000.

The conflict in Darfur has been going on for more than six years, although levels of violence have fallen since the mass killings of 2003 and 2004.



Pic: Nigerian Diplomat- Ibrahim Gambari and UN Secretary General- Ban Ki-moon