UNITED NATIONS, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday announced the appointment of Major General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha of Ethiopia as Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.
The new Force Commander succeeds Lieutenant General Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam of Ethiopia, who completed his assignment as Force Commander and Head of Mission on June 19, 2014.
The secretary-general is grateful to Lieutenant General Tesfamariam for his dedication and effective leadership of UNISFA, Dujarric said, adding that Ban also conveys his appreciation to Major General Halefom Moges for his service as UNISFA’s Acting Head of Mission.
Gelalcha has had a long and distinguished career with the Ethiopian Army, most recently serving as the Commander of the Western Command since 2010, the spokesman said. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Commander of the Central Command from 2006 until 2009.
He has also held a number of important operational and staff positions, among them the Division Commander of Ethiopian Army’s Ministry of National Defense from 1995 to 2000, the Head of the Cadet School from 2001 to 2003, the Chief of Corps Administration in 2004 and the Head of Brigade Operations from 1989 to 1997. In 2005, he was a Sector Commander in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
He holds a Master’s degree from Greenwich University in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and a Bachelor’s degree from Alpha University College in Addis Ababa.