Operation Artemis

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Operation Artemis was a short-term European Union-led UN authorized military mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Ituri conflict.

During the Second Congo War the Ituri conflict occurred in the Ituri Region alongside Lake Albert and the Ugandan border. The Ituri conflict was fought between two non-governmental informally organized ethnic groups that had caused the deaths of thousands of people by 2003.[1]

Following a series of massacres, including the Bogoro attack of February 2003, and reports of serious human rights abuses by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), the Security Council adopted the Resolution 1484 on May 30, 2003 and authorised the deployment of a French led Interim Multinational Emergency Force (IMEF) to the regional capital of Bunia.[2] The force was tasked with securing the airport, protecting internally displaced persons in IDP camps and the civilians in the town.

Following the rapid deployment of about 1800 troops to the region in June 2003, Bunia was secured but massacres continued in the countryside.[3] In September 2003, responsibility for the security of the region was handed over to the MONUC mission. Operation Artemis marked the first autonomous EU military mission outside Europe and an important milestone in development of European Security and Defence Policy.

By December 2003 one of major waring parties in the region, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) had split and fighting in the region decreased significantly.[4]

Background[edit]

2003 Ituri Conflict fighting[edit]

In 2003 Lendu and Hema militias were battling for control of the town after Ugandan troops withdrew after the signing of a peace agreement, and Congolese police fled.[5] During discussions regarding the deployment of an international force, UN Security Council diplomats were mindful of a repetition of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.[6]

UN Observer Mission and Withdrawal of Ugandan Troops[edit]

In the beginning of 2003 United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or MONUC, observer teams present in that country since 1999 monitored serious combats and human rights violations in Ituri province where the Ituri conflict had been unfolding for the previous four years.

The withdrawal of seven thousand Ugandan troops in April 2003 led to a deteriorating security situation in the Ituri region endangering the peace process in DRC.[citation needed] In April 2003 eight hundred Ugandan soldiers were deployed in Bunia and one observer died in a mine explosion. In May 2003 two military observers were killed by a militia.

Multi-national force[edit]

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for establishing and deploying a temporary multi-national force to the area until the weakened MONUC mission could be reinforced. On May 30, 2003 the Security Council adopted the Resolution 1484 authorising the deployment of an Interim Multinational Emergency Force (IMEF) to Bunia with a task to secure the airport, protect internally displaced persons in camps and the civilians in the town.

France[edit]

The French Government had already shown interest in leading the operation. It soon broadened to an EU-led mission with France as the "Lead nation" providing the bulk of the personnel and complemented by contributions from both EU and non-EU nations. The total force consisted of about 1800 personnel and was supported by French aircraft based at N'Djamena and Entebbe airfields. A small 80 man Swedish Special Forces group (SSG) was also added.

Operation launch[edit]

Operation Artemis was launched on June 12 and the IMEF completed its deployment in the following three weeks. The force was successful in stabilising the situation in Bunia and enforcing the UN presence in the DRC. In September 2003, responsibility for the security of the region was handed over to the MONUC mission. The number of authorized personnel in the MONUC mission was previously extended in Resolution 1493.

Milestone[edit]

Artemis was the first autonomous EU military mission outside Europe - an important milestone in development of European Security and Defence Policy.

Contributing nations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Conflict Name: Hema - Lendu, Conflict Summary, Non-state Conflict, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=38&regionSelect=2-Southern_Africa#
  2. ^ Steele, Jonathan (31 May 2003). "UN sends troops to stop Congo massacres". The Guardian. 
  3. ^ Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Conflict Name: Hema - Lendu, Conflict Summary, Non-state Conflict, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=38&regionSelect=2-Southern_Africa#
  4. ^ Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Conflict Name: Hema - Lendu, Conflict Summary, Non-state Conflict, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=38&regionSelect=2-Southern_Africa#
  5. ^ "Q&A: DR Congo's ethnic flashpoint". BBC News. 15 May 2003. 
  6. ^ Barringer, Felicity (13 May 2003). "U.N. Council May Request Foreign Force For Congo". The New York Times.