Force Commander and Ag. HoM designate calls on Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief and Juba-appointed Chief Administrator in Abyei

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1 Mar 2022

Force Commander and Ag. HoM designate calls on Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief and Juba-appointed Chief Administrator in Abyei

The Force Commander/Ag Head of Mission designate, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, on 1 March 2020, called on the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief (PC) and the Juba-appointed Chief Administrator in Abyei. He was accompanied by the Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier General Abu Sayed Babikir, and other UNISFA staff members.

The PC wished the incoming Ag. HoM/FC and DFC a successful tour of duty. On behalf of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefs, the PC thanked the outgoing Ethiopian contingents for their invaluable contribution to peace in Abyei and wished them a happy return to their families.

 He called on the incoming troops to build on the successes of their predecessors and suggested that views of the communities be sought during troop deployment as they have better knowledge of the issues affecting the area of operation.

The PC expressed hope that UNISFA’s political component would further its engagement with stakeholders in Khartoum, Juba, AU and other regional blocs for a lasting solution to the peace process in Abyei and advised the incoming Ag. HoM/FC to balance his two appointments owing to the enormous responsibilities associated with the office.

General Sawyer committed to work with all stakeholders in Abyei for lasting peace in the area He applauded the Ethiopian contingents for the good work done over the past 11 years. He urged for the cooperation of the Ngok Dinka community in the implementation of the UNISFA mandate and pledged close cooperation with all communities for sustainable peace in Abyei. He further stressed the nexus between peace and development and hoped for progress in Abyei with the new multidimensional nature of the UNISFA force.

The DFC, Brig. Gen. Babikir, expressed satisfaction with the Ethiopian contingents’ performance, and further expressed happiness over the trust and confidence reposed in UNISFA by the Ngok Dinka community. He reiterated UNISFA’s neutrality in the Abyei peace process and stated that their interests and those of other communities in the Abyei Area would guide UNISFA towards the achievement of its mandate.

The delegation later called on the Juba-appointed Chief Administrator, who was represented by his deputy Ho. Chol Thuc Chol and four Ministers. The DCA expressed gratitude to UNISFA for the great service in protecting civilians, citing as an example UNISFA’s role in the recent disturbances between the Twic and Ngok Dinkas. He expressed optimism that the tenure of the new mission configuration would usher in peace in the Abyei Box. The incoming Ag. HoM/FC acknowledged the complex nature of the conflict in Abyei and pledged to work assiduously to bring peace to Abyei.

Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyer of Nigeria arrived in Abyei on 28 February 2022. He will succeed Force Commander and Acting Head of Mission Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema of Ethiopia, who will shortly complete his assignment.

In September 2021, the Secretary-General informed the UN Security Council of the need to reconfigure UNISFA in order to improve its capacity to deliver the mandated tasks in a new regional reality. Given the current regional and political dynamics, the Secretary-General also informed the UNSC of his decision to deploy a UN multinational force in Abyei to replace the current contingents. In this regard, new contingents have begun to deploy to UNISFA, and the repatriation of Ethiopian peacekeepers began on 21 February.