Ban appoints former head of UN Liberia mission to lead operation in South Sudan

Ellen Margrethe LØj (file photo) UN Photo/Staton Winter

23 July 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon today announced the appointment of Ellen Margrethe LØj of Denmark as his top official in South Sudan, replacing Hilde Johnson.

Ms. LØj has a “wealth of experience in peacekeeping and international affairs,” according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, having served as his Special Representative and head of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) from 2008 to 2012.

The Danish national previously held a number of senior positions in her Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as her country’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

Ms. LØj will now be the Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), following Ms. Johnson, who completed the assignments on 7 July.

The Mission was established in 2011, following a UN-supported referendum which led to the independence of South Sudan from Sudan.

Political in-fighting in the world’s newest country broke out in mid-December 2013, pitting President Salva Kiir against former Vice President Riek Machar. The fighting turned into a full-fledged conflict that has since then uprooted some 1.5 million people and placed more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease.

The conflict also sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UNMISS bases around the country, leading the Mission to take the unprecedented decision to open its doors to those seeking protection.

In May, the Security Council extended UNMISS until 30 November of this year, and revised its mandate to give priority to the task of protecting civilians and to address the security, humanitarian and political crisis that has gripped the nation for the past several months.


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