Ghanaian UN commander in Israel dies

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President Akufo-Addo has announced the passing of the Ghanaian head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Israel, Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri.

He died today, April 19, 2019 at 62 years. He left behind a wife and two daughters.

Akufo-Addo in a statement said: “I am saddened by the news of the sudden death of Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri, Ghanaian Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which occurred today, 19th April, 2019, in Israel.”

“I extend heartfelt condolences to his widow, Commissioner of Police Beatrice Vib-Sanziri, to his children and family, to the Minister for Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, officers, men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces, and to UN Secretary General António Guterres, and members of UNDOF.

“Our nation has lost a fine, dedicated, professional military officer, who served his country and the global community with distinction. His was, certainly, a distinguished military career,” the commander-in-chief of the Ghana Armed Forces said.

Major General Vib-Sanziri was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in October 2017 to head the UNDOF.

Background

He joined the Ghanaian Armed Forces in 1985.  Having served as Director-General of the International Peace Support Operations at the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces since April 2017, he also served as Assistant Director, Ghana Army Operations (1996-1998), Deputy Head of the Ghana Military Academy (2002-2004), Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion (2004-2009), Director for International Peacekeeping Support Operations in 2009 and Army Secretary at the Army Headquarters (2010-2011).  In 2014, he was appointed Director-General for Joint Operations, General Headquarters.  He served as Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organization from 2015 to 2017.

Major General Vib-Sanziri’s extensive peacekeeping experience includes deployments to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1988 and 1991, United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) in 1993 and 1994 and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in 2007.  He also served with the Economic Community of West Africa States Monitoring Group in Liberia in 1990, in Sierra Leone, in 1999 and 2000, and, subsequently, with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).  From 2011 to 2014, he served as a strategic military planner in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations.

Major General Vib-Sanziri held a master’s degree in military art and science from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, in the United States, a post-graduate certificate in public administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and rural resource development from the University of Ghana.  He was a graduate of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and General Staff College, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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