Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation LANCE

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

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International Information

International Operation Name:  United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda

International Mission Name:  United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR)

Mandating Organization:  United Nations

Region Name:  Africa

Location:  Uganda and Rwanda

Mission Date:  22/06/1993 - 21/09/1994

Mission Mandate:  

UNOMUR was deployed on the Ugandan side of the border between Uganda and Rwanda in accordance with Security Council Resolution 846 of 22 June 1993. Its mandate was to monitor that border “to verify that no military assistance reaches Rwanda, focus being put primarily in this regard on transit or transport, by roads or tracks which could accommodate vehicles, of lethal weapons and ammunition across the border, as well as any other material which could be of military use”.

Mission/Operation Notes:

The former Belgian colony of Rwanda was racked by factional violence almost from the moment of its independence. Some of it was tribal – between Hutu and Tutsi – with the former having secured the reigns of power in a 1959 coup d’etat. Many Tutsi were expelled then, and more still following another coup in 1973. Most fled to Uganda where, having formed the Rwandese Patriotic Front in the late 1980s, they began to launch cross-border attacks into Rwanda in October 1990. Over the next year, a number of cease-fires were broken by neighbouring states, but all were broken. As a result of yet another such arrangement, this time by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the government of Tanzania on 22 July 1992, a 50-person Neutral Military Observer Group (NMOG 1) was deployed by the OAU, but fighting resumed in February 1993 despite its presence. The OAU again sponsored talks, and the Arusha Peace Agreement, signed in August, again called for an OAU observer group. (NMOG II). In the interim, however, both Rwanda and Uganda requested a UN presence along their common border in order to prevent its use by the RPF.

On 22 June 1993, the Security Council passed Resolution 846, which created the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR). The mandate of UNOMUR was simple: to ensure that no military aid reached Rwanda. UNOMUR would also assist the NMOG II by placing two military experts in logistics at NMOG II’s disposal. UNOMUR’s operations would be on the Ugandan side of the border. The Security Council’s rationale for preventing weapons and war materiel from reaching the RPF was to prevent any further outbreak of violence between the Rwandan government and the RPF.

UNOMUR could not deploy to Uganda before a status of mission agreement had been reached. This was not concluded until 16 August 1993. The advance party arrived two days later, setting up UNOMUR headquarters in Kabale, Uganda, about 20 kilometres north of the border. By the end of September, UNOMUR had reached its authorized strength of 81 personnel.

To conduct its operations, UNOMUR established two observation posts at major border crossings and three secondary posts at minor crossings. Suspect traffic could be inspected and these activities were augmented by mobile patrols. UNOMUR did not, however, cover the entire border. But, in his first progress report on UNOMUR, issued on 15 December 1993, the Secretary-General indicated that UNOMUR had played a useful role as a confidence-building mechanism.

The status of UNOMUR also changed during this first period. On 5 October 1993, the Security Council created the United Nations Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). UNAMIR was to support the Arusha Agreement, monitoring the cease-fire, assisting in humanitarian activities and investigating non-compliance with the Agreement. The Security Council also agreed to integrate UNOMUR into UNAMIR.

However, events rapidly took a turn for the worse. On 6 April 1994, the airplane carrying Burundi’s President Cyprien Ntaryamira and Rwanda’s President Juvénal Habyarimana crashed at Kigali airport in Rwanda. This set off three months of genocide in which over 800,000 men, women and children were killed. Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed using any weapon available. The genocide only stopped when the RPF took over control of the country.

When the genocide began, UNOMUR was able to extend its area of coverage to the entire border. UNOMUR’s patrols continued and with the addition of three helicopters, UNOMUR’s capabilities were strengthened. UNOMUR was able to assist UNAMIR to some extent in addressing the question of outside interference in the civil war and genocide in Rwanda. By being able to patrol the entire border they quickly discovered that the Rwandan Government Forces were receiving supplies over land from Bukavu and Goma in Zaire and by boat across Lake Kivu. UNOMUR also noted that the Ugandan Army was hindering UNOMUR operations. To counter this, the UNOMUR Deputy Commander, Colonel Azrul Haque of Bangladesh, deployed UNMOs along the border and, not surprisingly, they reported significant traffic between Rwanda and Uganda. This brought a truer picture of the state of supplies going to the two sides.

Perhaps of greater significance was the assistance UNOMUR military and civilian staff provided directly to UNAMIR. UNOMUR personnel coordinated logistics activities at Entebbe airport for UNAMIR. Once ready, convoys of food, materiel and incoming UNAMIR personnel were escorted to the border. UNOMUR staff also assisted with the evacuation of UNAMIR casualties from Rwanda.

In June 1994 the Secretary-General suggested that there was little value in patrolling only one of Rwanda’s borders while the civil war raged. He therefore recommended that UNOMUR’s mandate be extended only until 21 September and that its operations be phased down starting in August. On 15 August, UNOMUR’s strength was reduced to fifty-five, on 30 August to forty-six, and on 6 September to thirty-four.

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Canadian Forces (CF) Information (LANCE)

Name:  LANCE

Date:  22/06/1993 - 21/09/1994

CF Mission/Operation Notes:

Canada’s participation in UNOMUR was named Operation LANCE. On 27 May 1993 Brigadier-General Roméo Dallaire was advised he was to be the UNOMUR Force Commander when the Security Council approved the mission. Although he was military head of UNOMUR, Dallaire spent considerable time before October preparing for what everyone knew had to be – a UN mission in Rwanda – and almost all his time in Rwanda thereafter was associated with that mission, of which he was also Force Commander. After his departure from Africa on 20 August 1994, he was replaced as Chief Military Office for UNOMUR by Major General Guy Tousignant, who remained in that post until UNOMUR was terminated on 20 September.

Overall, four Canadian officers served with UNOMUR. The actual nature of their participation was more administrative than operational, due to the requirements of setting up two missions at the same time.