Major General Hassen Ebrahim Mussa of Ethiopia is the new force commander of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
He takes over from Lieutenant General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha, also of Ethiopia, who completes hi UN assignment tomorrow (Wednesday).
Mussa has been serving as head of the peacekeeping co-ordination centre of the Ethiopian Armed Forces and has held a number of senior postings in the Ethiopian military since 1995.
He graduated from the Ethiopian Defence Command and Staff College in 2005 and was a Corps Commander in the Ethiopian Armed Forces from 2011 to 2012. He previously served as the Sector Commander North in the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), where he gained hands-on experience in UN peacekeeping.
UNISFA was established in June 2011 following a UN Security Council resolution in response to what was termed “an urgent situation” in Sudan’s Abyei region.
The operation has been tasked with monitoring the flashpoint border between north and south and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, and is authorised to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Abyei.
UNISFA’s establishment came after the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops to monitor the area.