UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations has strongly condemned the barbaric killing of the Deputy Force Commander of UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Brig Ahmed Moeen-ud-Din, who was shot to death while on leave in Islamabad on Thursday. Brig Moeen joined UNMIS as deputy commander of its nearly 9,000-strong military force, one of the UNs largest, just five months ago. He leaves behind a gap that will not be easily filled, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons Special Representative for Sudan Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said in a statement. Ashraf paid tribute to him as a professional soldier of the highest merit [who] had won the esteem and respect of all his civilian and military colleagues. BAN KI-moon In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ban Ki-moon sent his heartfelt condolences to Brig Moeen bereaved family, UNMIS colleagues and the Pakistani government. He commends the contribution of the Government of Pakistan to peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and elsewhere, and hopes that the perpetrators of the attack will soon be brought to justice, the statement said. In Khartoum, the UNMIS held a memorial ceremony for martyred officer. The ceremony started with a silent salute from the UN Rwandan contingent, followed by the lowering of the UN flag to half-mast and a trumpet salute. The attendees observed a two-minute silence in remembrance of their lost colleague. Qazi laid a wreath at the cenotaph under the flag. UNMIS Force Commander, Gen Paban Thapa, and a representative of the UNMIS National Staff Association and the most senior officer from the Pakistani contingent serving in UNMIS also spoke on the occasion. Raising UN flag and a final military salute from the Rwandan Ceremony Guard concluded the solemn ceremony. Brig Moeen had also served in the UN peacekeeping operations in Somalia in 1994.