Ban Appoints New Chief for UN Mission in CAR and Chad

Youssef Mahmoud, the new chief of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, or MINURCAT. Photo by: Jenny Rockett / UN Photo

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia as the new chief of the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, or MINURCAT. Mahmoud and his delegation arrived in Chad on March 21 to discuss the MINURCAT’s remaining tasks with government officials as the mission prepares to close this December, U.N. News Center reports.The official also serves as executive representative of the secretary-general and head of the U.N. Integrated Office in Burundi. He has held senior positions at the U.N. in New York, Guyana and Cambodia.MINURCAT was established in 2007 to deliver humanitarian assistance to people displaced by conflict in Chad, the Central African Republic and neighboring Sudan.Three years after the MINURCAT’s inception, the government of Chad insisted it can now take full responsibility for the welfare of its civilians. All of the MINURCAT’s military and civilian personnel should be out of the area by the end of December.However, the move to withdraw the U.N. peacekeepers has raised concerns over the safety of aid workers. On June 6, kidnappers seized an Oxfam aid worker in eastern Chad, the AFP reports.The victim was abducted while leaving a restaurant in Abeche, where the Chadian military and aid groups work with refugees. It is also where the French military base and MINURCAT camp are located.The Chadian government still claims that the pullout of U.N. forces will not compromise security, but aid groups such as Amnesty International think otherwise.

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    Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.