United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, has been commended by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres for excellent leadership despite increasingly difficult conditions.
The commendation was contained in the Secretary General’s Report on Abyei read on the floor of the UN Security Council by the Assistance Secretary General for Africa in the Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs and Peace Operations Ms. Martha Phobee.
“I thank the acting Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNISFA, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, my Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Hanna Tetteh, and all UNISFA personnel, as well as United Nations agencies, funds, and programs in Abyei, for their commitment to maintaining peace and security, under increasingly difficult conditions”, Mr. Guterres said.
The Secretary-General also applauded UNISFA under the leadership of General Sawyer for superintending over the late stages of the mission’s transition from a Force provided by a single troop-contributing country to a multinational Force comprising eight troop-contributing countries and congratulated the troop-contributing countries and the mission for the achievement.
The SG lamented however thst: “While UNISFA does its utmost to maintain security and stability in the Abyei Area, the Force continues to be overstretched, notably in the absence of progress on the deployment of the three Formed Police Units, in line with the Security Council authorization, and I urge the parties to allow for their deployment.”,
He stressed that “It is anticipated that the mission’s capacity will suffer the impact of the outbreak of violence in the Sudan in April, including remaining deployments of troops and contingent-owned equipment.”
Mr. Guterres also condemned the repeated restrictions on the freedom of movement of UNISFA and its contractors, which disrupted the mission’s ability to implement its mandate fully, and called on both parties to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNISFA in its area of responsibility is maintained.
It would be recalled that Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr officially took over from Ethiopia’s Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema as UNISFA’s Ag. Head of Mission and Force Commander on 15 March 2022 to lead the newly reconfigured multinational peacekeeping mission.