(Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named Danish diplomat Ellen Margrethe Loj as his new special envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world's newest nation.
Loj replaces Hilde Johnson of Norway, who stood down this month after three years in the job and amid renewed violence sparked by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar.
The conflict has reopened deep ethnic tensions in the South Sudan, which only won independence from Sudan in 2011, pitting Kiir's Dinka against Machar's Nuer. Thousands of civilians have been killed and more than a million forced to flee their homes since December, prompting U.N. warnings of a looming famine.
Ban said Loj "brings to the position a wealth of experience in peacekeeping and international affairs, having served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the United Nations Mission in Liberia from 2008 to 2012."
She has also been Denmark's ambassador to the Czech Republic, the United Nations and Israel.
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U.N. chief names Danish diplomat new envoy to South Sudan