Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr of the Nigerian Army has assumed duty as the Force Commander and Acting Head of Mission at the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in Sudan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Maj.-Gen Benjamin Sawyerr officially took over from Ethiopia’s Maj.-Gen. Kefyalew Tessema who has served the mission for close to two years.
This followed the appointment of Sawyerr to the position in December 2021, to lead the newly reconfigured multinational peacekeeping mission in Abyei, Sudan.
This is contained in a statement issued by the new force commander/Acting Head of Mission on Thursday.
Sawyer commended the achievements of the Ethiopian peacekeepers under the leadership of his predecessor, Maj.-Gen. Tessema, especially in the areas of peace and security and, pledged to build on his legacy.
He lauded the Ethiopian troops for their immense contributions and sacrifice in pursuit of peace and security in the Abyei Area.
According to him, Ethiopia has been the only country contributing troops since the establishment of UNISFA in 2011.
The country had played a critical role in the prevention of conflict and advancement of the political process toward a sustainable solution for Abyei.
The force commander also paid tribute to peacekeepers who had lost their lives in the cause of peace in Abyei.
He thanked the UN Secretary-General for considering him worthy of the appointment and pledged to work closely with local and national authorities toward achieving the mandate of UNISFA.
The outgoing force commander, Tessema thanked UNISFA peacekeepers for their selfless sacrifice toward the effective implementation of the mission’s mandate.
Tessema attributed the success of his tenure to the cooperation and understanding of all components.
NAN reports that Sawyerr has a distinguished military career spanning more than 34 years of service with the Nigerian Army.
He is the immediate past Director of Defence Information of Nigeria’s Defence Forces and also served as Commandant of the Nigerian Army Armour School in Bauchi State in North East Nigeria (2020-2021).
Sawyer held the position of Brigade Commander twice in North East and was Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Battalion with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (2009-2010).
He also served as the Director of Plans at the Nigerian Army Headquarters (2019-2020) and Deputy Director of Doctrine and Combat Development (2017-2018).