ASTANA – Kazakh Lieutenant Colonel Askar Kozhagaliev has been appointed a commander of the UN Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), reported the press office of Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan.
Kazhagaliev was appointed the commander of the UN military base in Ausard camp with an area of responsibility of 43,000 square kilometres located on the southern part of Western Sahara, on the territory controlled by the royal army of Morocco.
There are 45 servicemen from Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Guinea, El Salvador, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia and Yemen.
Kozhagaliev was sent to the mission on Nov. 25, 2015 for 12 months. He graduated from the Military Academy of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan; he served in the Kazakh peacekeeping battalion, peacekeeping brigade and the Land Forces of Kazakhstan’s armed forces.
Kazakhstan has been contributing to the peacekeeping efforts in the region of western Africa. KAZBAT officers are serving in UN missions in Western Sahara (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, or MINURSO) and Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI, or United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire).
The UN has been seeking a settlement in Western Sahara since the Spanish withdrawal in 1976 and ensuing fighting between Morocco, which reintegrated the territory, and the Frente Polisario. MINURSO continued to fulfil its mandate by monitoring the ceasefire as well as supporting a range of assistance programmes to address the plight of displaced and separated Sahrawi families.