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UN chief approves appointment of Lt.-Gen. Mgwebi as commander of Mission in DRC


New York – The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on Tuesday approved the appointment of Lt.-Gen. Derick Mgwebi as Force Commander of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mgwebi, from South Africa, succeeds Lt.-Gen. Carlos Cruz of Brazil, who completed his assignment on Dec. 2.

Ban, in a statement in New York, thanked Gen. Cruz for his significant contribution to MONUSCO over the past two and a half years.

According to the statement, Mgwebi has more than 35 years of national and international military experience.

It stated that in 1991, he was appointed Director of Special Forces of the South African National Defence Forces and in 1993, Director of Training and Operations.

It added that Mgwebi held the post of Military Secretary at the Ministry of Defence (1995-1997) and served at Mpumalanga Command (1997-2002), after which he was appointed Director of the South African Army Infantry Formation.

From 2004 to 2006, he served as Force Commander of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB).

He is currently the Chief, Joint Operations, of the South African National Defence Forces.

Mgwebi holds a diploma in Defence Management and a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Africa.

NAN reports that in March, the Security Council passed a resolution, renewing for 12 months the mandate of MONUSCO.

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It also endorsed recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s report on the strategic review of the mission.

Among the recommendations contained in the strategic review of MONUSCO the Council endorsed were those on transforming the force to become more efficient and effective in implementing its mandate.

It also endorsed the recommendation to reduce the MONUSCO force by 2,000 troops, while maintaining an authorised troop ceiling.

The intention was to make the troop reduction permanent but “significant progress” regarding the priorities of the force’s mandate would first be necessary.

With regard to future reconfiguration of MONUSCO and its mandate, the council decided that consultations should take place with the DRC Government.

The consultation would be on the basis of the situation on the ground and progress on reduction of the threat posed by Congolese and foreign armed groups.

The resolution authorises MONUSCO to take all necessary measures to ensure the effective protection of civilians under threat of physical violence and of UN personnel.

MONUSCO is also authorised by the resolution to work with the government on identifying threats to civilians and implementing existing prevention and response plans.

It is also authorised to arrest and bring to justice those allegedly responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law or abuses of human rights in the country.(NAN)

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