UN appoints retired Indian general to lead Hodeidah mission

Lt. Gen Abhijit Guha, center, is seen in this courtesy file photo.

UNITED NATIONS — A retired lieutenant general of the Indian Army has been picked by the UN on Thursday to head its observer mission in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Abhijit Guha succeeds Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard of Denmark, becoming the third official tasked with leading UN oversight of a cease-fire agreement in Hodeidah.

The cease-fire in Hodeidah came into into effect last December after peace talks in Sweden between Yemen's government and the Iran-backed Houthi militia, who have been fighting each other since 2015.

In an official statement made by a spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said of Guha's appointment: “The Secretary General is grateful for General Lollesgaard’s dedicated and exemplary service. Lieutenant General (retired) Guha brings to this position 39 years of national and international military experience.”

Guha was among several serving or retired military officers under consideration as a replacement head of the Hodeidah mission.

As chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee and head of the United Nations Mission in support of the Hodeidah Agreement, he will work with the UN's special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

Guha served from 2009-2013 as the Deputy Military Adviser and the Military Adviser within the Office of Military Affairs of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, while also establishing the Office of Peacekeeping and Strategic Partnerships in 2013, the UN statement said.

He has also previously served as a Military Observer as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia during 1992-3.

After his retirement from the Indian Army in 2013, Gen. Guha served on the Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping (2014) and the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015).

He has also led a number of United Nations' investigations and boards of inquiry in Africa and the Middle East.