United Nations Operation in Mozambique

International Information

International Operation Name: United Nations Operation in Mozambique

International Mission Name: United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Africa

Location: Mozambique

Mission Date: 16 December 1992 - 31 January 1995

Mission Mandate: United Nations Security Council Resolutions 782, 13 October 1992; 797, 16 December 1992;

ONUMOZ was established by Security Council Resolution 797 (1992) of 16 December 1992 to help implement the General Peace Agreement, signed on 4 October 1992 by the President of the Republic of Mozambique and the President of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO). The mandate of ONUMOZ was:

ONUMOZ's mandate formally came to an end at midnight on 9 December 1994. The Mission was terminated at the end on 31 January 1995.

Mozambique had been a Portuguese colony since 1752. Beginning in 1962 the Frente de Liberatacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO - Mozambique Liberation Front) was formed in Tanzania by exiled leader Eduardo Mondlane, with initial backing coming from both western and communist countries. In 1964, FRELIMO staged its first guerrilla attacks in northern Mozambique, and by the mid-1960’s Portugal was forced to maintain over 70,000 troops to maintain its hold on the colony. Events in Portugal would bring an end to this when, following the “Carnation Revolution” of 25 April 1974, a new government in Lisbon declared its intention to grant Mozambique its independence. 

Once Mozambique was independent, FRELIMO set about assisting other African independence movements with their struggles. The Zimbabwe African National Union, led by Robert Mugabe, used Mozambique as a staging area for its attacks against the white-led government in Rhodesia and received direct Mozambique-government support. Soviet, East German and Cuban military advisors also arrived to assist Mozambique and the guerrilla groups it supported. 

In 1976 Rhodesia assisted the formation of the Resistencia Nacional Mocambique (RENAMO - Mozambique National Resistance) to overthrow the government of Mozambique and prevent it from supporting guerrilla organizations. RENAMO guerrillas were soon destroying the already poor economy of Mozambique and its infrastructure, attacking rail and power lines, roads and bridges and oil storage depots. More alarmingly, RENAMO began a systematic campaign of terrorizing civilians. 

With the change to a government based on majority rule in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), RENAMO lost its initial supporter; however, South Africa quickly filled the void. FRELIMO, in attempting to counter RENAMO’s tactics, also began using terror and intimidation against its own people, and it invited troops from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to keep the railway open between Beira, on the coast of Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. 

Between RENAMO’s attacks, natural disasters such as drought and flood, and the government’s inability to generate a viable economy, Mozambique rapidly became the poorest country in the world. Over 1 million people were killed and over 1.1 million became refugees in this deadly civil war. 

International pressure brought FRELIMO and RENAMO to the negotiating table and on 4 October 1992 a General Peace agreement was signed in Rome by Joaquim Alberto Chissano for Mozambique and Afonso Dhlakama for RENAMO. The agreement created a framework for establishing peace in Mozambique and requested UN assistance in implementing the agreement, providing technical assistance for elections and monitoring then. 

The Security Council adopted resolution 782 on 13 October 1992. It authorized an interim force with 25 military observers. Twenty-one observers, drawn mostly from the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, arrived in Mozambique on the 15th, the day the agreement entered into force. Two teams of observers were deployed to the provincial capitals of Beira and Nampula and, later, two other posts where they verified the withdrawal of foreign troops from Mozambique. 

However, to observe the implementation of the agreement, the UN required more than 25 observers. The two sides were to disengage and concentrate in assembly areas, and those soldiers who would not become part of the new Mozambican Defence Force had to be demobilized no later than six months after the agreement came into force. The UN was also committed to supervise a general election and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. On 3 December 1992 the Secretary-General presented a plan to the Security Council for the creation of ONUMOZ. It was approved on 16 December by Resolution 797. 

Militarily, ONUMOZ consisted of over 6,300 armed personnel, including five infantry battalions, to provide security throughout the country, especially against armed bandits whose numbers increased as the former guerrilla forces assembled for demobilization. There were also 354 unarmed UNMOs to verify the cease-fire, disarm the two sides, and demobilize them before their reintegration into society. The UNMOs would also assist in the delivery of food to the assembly areas for demobilizing forces and assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the country. 

Although UN troops arrived slowly and the government and Renamo disagreed on where to locate the 49 sites -- it would take a year before all of them were operating -- the cease-fire held. foreign troops left as the formed "UN" Infantry battalions began to arrive, and once roads were reopened humanitarian assistance began to be provided on a large scale. Land mines left over from the civil war remained a problem, however, and mine-clearing training was therefore added to the mission’s responsibilities. 

The election in Mozambique was held on 27 and 28 October 1994 despite incidents of banditry. Voter turn-out was high, and given the cooperation of all parties, the election was declared free and fair. President Chissano, the FRELIMO candidate, won, and RENAMO leader Dhlakama accepted the results. 

Although the elections were to terminate ONUMOZ’s mandate, it was extended for six weeks, as there were still soldiers and guerrillas to be demobilized and the new government to be installed. Once both had been completed, ONUMOZ formally ended on 9 December 1994. Personnel remained in theatre until the end of January 1995 while the mission wound down.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (CONSONANCE)


Date: 14 February 1993 - 13 January 1995

CF Mission/Operation Notes: Canadian planning for ONUMOZ began in October 1992. From the outset it was recognized that the contribution would be military observers and not formed units, as the Canadian Forces were already heavily deployed on other operations. As a result Canada agreed to provide fifteen UNMOs. The warning order was issued on 24 December, without identifying individual participants. Eventually five UNMOs with the Organization des Nations Unies en El Salvador (ONUSAL) and nine with the United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II) became available as ONUSAL was downsizing and UNAVEM II was failing due to the resumption of civil war. 

All fourteen Canadian officers were in theatre by 14 February 1993, under the Canadian name Operation CONSONANCE. They would each finish the one- year tours they had started in other operations. All were employed in the ONUMOZ headquarters, the three regional headquarters and at assembly areas. Their main task was to count and then demobilize both guerrilla and government soldiers, and to move weapons taken from these individuals to regional arms depots for safe storage. Once demobilized, the ex-fighters would be sent to training centres. 

The next rotation totaled 15 personnel. As with the first contingent, they were deployed throughout the country and in all headquarters. One officer, however, was seconded to the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR) from August to October 1993. Here he was part of the advance party that set up the mission and provided valuable service to Brigadier-General Roméo Dallaire, the Chief Military Officer for UNOMUR. 

By June 1994, ONUMOZ began planning for downsizing. The UN indicated that only 4 Canadians would be required after November 1994. As a result, the size of the Canadian contingent was reduced in the coming months. Thirteen had returned to Canada by mid-August, with two remaining and another two officers arriving from Canada. These four returned to Canada in December 1994 and January 1995, after the UN mandate expired, with the last leaving on 13 January. 

A total of 34 Canadian Forces officers served in ONUMOZ.

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