Sunday, September 23, 2007

PeopleWatch: General Martin Luther Agwai

OK, I can hear you saying, "Who?"

General Martin Luther Agwai is not as famous as Angelina Jolie or George Clooney but he will certainly have more direct impact on the future of Darfur than either of the above. And isn't it time that we pay attention to someone besides the celebrities?

excerpt from:
BBC NEWS | Africa | Darfur's peacekeeper: Africa's toughest job?

If General Martin Luther Agwai's name is not yet familiar, it will be soon.

He has been given one of the toughest jobs in Africa, and perhaps the most thankless: Commander of the new combined United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur.

General Agwai will lead the biggest peacekeeping operation in the world with 20,000 troops and 6,000 police under his command.

The general told BBC News that building a peacekeeping force of that size from scratch would take time, and he warned against high expectations, saying without peace his troops would be in a "in a very uncomfortable position".

The former head of Nigeria's armed forces is courteous and softly-spoken.

He told me his military heroes are General George Patton and General Ariel Sharon.

Asked if his new job is a poisoned chalice, his response is characteristically low-key.

"When I was accepting this job I did it with all sincerity," he said, "believing that somebody has to do the job and if somebody has to do it, why not me.

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