Operation CROCODILE

Operation CROCODILE is Canada’s support to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This mission is known as Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo. Its acronym is MONUSCO.

Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nine Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members make up Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo (Task Force DRC). They are experts in military operations, liaison, and training. They serve in two places. One is MONUSCO headquarters in Kinshasa. The other place is a secondary headquarters in Goma. 

Mission context

MONUSCO

MONUSCO is a mission that continued from a previous UN mission.  This was the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was known as the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo (MONUC).

MONUSCO was created by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1925 of May 28, 2010. MONUSCO was created because the situation in the DRC had changed. Life for the people had become more secure and stable.

MONUSCO is set up to do two things:

  • Protect civilians from threats of physical violence; and
  • Work with the local government and international agencies.  In this role it helps the Congolese government improve justice and security for its people.

MONUSCO is also there to monitor an arms ban. The ban was imposed in UNSC Resolution 1896 on November 30, 2009. Under the ban, MONUSCO may seize or collect items that violate the ban.

The mission will also help with national and local elections.  It provides technical and logistical support within the limits of its capacities and resources. DRC authorities must ask for this help before MONUSCO will act in this regard.

As of September 2017, MONUSCO had uniformed personnel from 56 nations. As of that date, mission strength stood at:

  • 16 062 contingent troops
  • 413 experts on mission
  • 1045 formed police units
  • 319 individual police
  • 190 staff officers

MONUSCO will adapt according to how the situation evolves in the DRC, including:

  • completing military operations in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale;
  • improved government ability to protect the population; and
  • exercise of state authority throughout the area.

The MONUSCO mandate is renewed each year.  UNSC Resolution 2277 of March 30, 2016, extended it to March 31, 2017. The resolution also:

  • reaffirms that the mission’s highest priority is always to protect civilians;
  • restates that the Government of the DRC has the first responsibility for security, national reconciliation, peace-building and development; and
  • stresses that MONUSCO should help with peace-building, prevent a relapse into armed conflict, and help the DRC move toward lasting peace and development.

History

The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the formation of MONUC

MONUC was the mission that came before MONUSCO. It was set up on November 30, 1999, by the UNSC. This was after the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was signed in July 1999.  The DRC and its neighbours signed the agreement.  The neighbours were:

  • Angola;
  • Namibia;
  • Rwanda;
  • Uganda; and
  • Zimbabwe.

The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement was the first major attempt to end the Second Congo War. The war began in 1997. It started with a successful coup against President Mobutu Sese Seko. The state that had been Zaïre became the DRC under President Laurent Kabila.

The fighting continued after the coup. It quickly became the widest war between states in modern African history. The war took place mainly in the DRC’s eastern provinces. The war was sometimes halted by ceasefires. It has involved nine African nations and has lasted more than 10 years.

The lives of 50 million Congolese have been directly affected. The fighting in the DRC was at its peak between August 1998 and April 2004. The International Rescue Committee said that about 3.8 million people died and 3.4 million were displaced in the DRC during that time. Since then, millions more have become refugees. They have been displaced within the DRC or into neighbouring countries.

MONUC growth and development

The UNSC passed Resolution 1291 on February 24, 2000.  It expanded the mission to 5,537 military members. This included up to 500 UNMOs. There were also 500 civilian support staff. The mandate was also expanded, to include:

  • making sure the Ceasefire Agreement is followed;
  • investigating those who break the ceasefire;
  • making sure that weapons, ammunition and war-related materiel did not get to the armed groups involved in the conflict;
  • making sure the aggressive forces stopped fighting, and returned prisoners of war;
  • helping with humanitarian assistance and monitoring human rights; and
  • sending in mine-removal teams.

UNSC Resolution 1493 of July 28, 2003, imposed sanctions against the DRC. This was because of continued fighting in the eastern provinces that threatened peace building. The UN changed and strengthened the sanctions with four more resolutions in 2004 and 2005.

MONUC grew steadily. With UNSC Resolution 1856 of December 22, 2008, it reached its peak of 22,016 total uniformed personnel:

  • 19,815  military personnel in units;
  • 760 UNMOs;
  • 1,050  police officers in units; and
  • 391 individual police officers.

Another task was added in 2006. This was to help Congolese authorities organize and conduct local elections.

UNSC Resolution 1906 was passed December 23, 2009. It extended MONUC’s mandate for the fourth time, to May 31, 2010. It also requested a review of mission progress and the situation in the DRC. The results led to the change of MONUC to MONUSCO. This took place under UNSC Resolution 1925 of May 28, 2010.

Date modified: