by Staff Writers
Kigali (AFP) June 11, 2013
Rwandan General Jean-Bosco Kazura has been appointed to command the United Nations peacekeeeping force in Mali, Rwanda's foreign minister told AFP Tuesday.
Kazura, formerly second in command of African Union troops in Sudan's western Darfur region, will lead the UN force being deployed in Mali, known under the acronym MINUSMA.
Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo confirmed the appointment but gave no further details.
The UN Security Council in April approved the force for Mali, to be made up of 12,600 international troops and police to take over from French and African forces.
In January, French troops halted an advance by Islamist guerrillas who had controlled the northern half of the country for 10 months in the chaos following a coup in Bamako.
Kazura, 50, fought in the 1990s in the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the rebellion led by now President Paul Kagame, who took power in Kigali in 1994 to end the genocide in Rwanda.
Kazura later ran Rwanda's military academy and was an security adviser to Kagame.
A football fan, he has also headed Rwanda's football federation.
In 2010, he was briefly arrested for "insubordination" after travelling without permission in South Africa to watch the football World Cup.
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