Niger diplomat to head UN mission in DR Congo

Ambassador Maman Sambo Sidikou



United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed the current chief of the AU mission in Somalia to head the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN official said Thursday.

Maman Sambo Sidikou, a former foreign minister of Niger, replaces German diplomat Martin Kobler, who headed the UN’s largest peace mission in the DR Congo since July 2013.

Kobler is to leave his post at the end of October.

Sidikou, who led the AMISOM mission in Somalia since July last year, takes over as UN envoy to the DR Congo and head of the 22,000-strong MONUSCO force, amid growing tensions in the country.

In his final report to the Security Council, Kobler urged Kinshasa to hold credible elections next year and to give President Joseph Kabila’s opponents political space.

In power since 2001, Kabila is barred under the constitution from seeking a third term in elections expected in November next year.

But opponents accuse him of maneuvring to stay in power.

Sidikou served as his country’s ambassador to the United States from 2011 to 2014 and was also the Nigerien president’s chief of staff in 1999 after serving as foreign minister from 1997 to 1999.

The diplomat, who holds a doctorate in education, also worked at the World Bank in Washington, the UN children’s agency UNICEF and for the British charity Save the Children from 1999 to 2011.

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