News: UNISFA gets Nigerian interim Force Commander as Ethiopia departs

Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr . Picture:

Addis Abeba – 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).

Mag. Gen. Kefyalew Amde Tessema. Picture: UNISFA

The UN said 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.”

In January this year, 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.

Major General Sawyerr has a military career spanning more than 34 years of service with the Nigerian Army, including as the Director of Defense Information of Nigeria’s Defense Forces since 2021.

Previously, he served as Commandant of the Nigerian Army Armour School in Bauchi State in North East Nigeria from 2020 to 2021.  He held the position of Brigade Commander twice in North East Nigeria and was Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Battalion with the United Nations Mission in Liberia from 2009 to 2010.  He also served as the Director of Plans at the Nigerian Army Headquarters between 2019 and 2020, and Deputy Director of Doctrine and Combat Development from 2017 to 2018.

Major General Sawyerr holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Nigeria and a Master of Arts in defense and strategic studies from the University of Madras in India.  He is fluent in English, with a working knowledge of Hausa and basic French. UN

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