UN chief appoints new head of UN Ebola mission

United Nations, Dec 12: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday appointed Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania as new special representative and head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

Ahmed will succeed Anthony Banbury, an American, in January to lead the Ghana-based UN Ebola mission which was established in September to coordinate efforts to combat the world's worst outbreak of the virus, Xinhua reported citing the statement.


Banbury, who was appointed as chief of the first-ever UN health emergency response mission in September, will return to New York in early January 2015, according to the statement.

No reason has been noted for the replacement.

The Ebola outbreak this year has killed 6,533 people in the three West African countries hardest hit by the disease -- Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea -- and infected 18,118 people, the World Health Organization said in its latest update Thursday.

Ahmed is currently deputy special representative of the UN chief and deputy head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), United Nations resident coordinator, humanitarian coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative.

He also served as resident coordinator, humanitarian coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Syria (2008-2012) and Yemen (2012-2014).

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