|01 January 1994
|31 December 1995
Rwanda (UNAMIR), 1993 - 1996
Strength: 652 (Total with ASC1 & ASC2 rotations). Medical Support Force – comprising ADF Medical and Surgical Personnel, Infantry Rifle Company, APC Section, Engineers, Signals, RAEME and supporting elements.
The first UN mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR I), was at a strength of 1700, however US pressure mounted in New York to reduce the UN involvement in Rwanda back to only 270 personnel. Within a background of distrust and revenge, Rwanda’s holocaust of 1994 began after its President was shot down and killed in his aircraft. The Tutsi dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took advantage of the chaos by killing as many Hutu’s and their supporters.
In response to the human disaster of Rwanda, Australia quickly deployed a 302 strong force that had the role of the Medical Support Force (MSF) for the UN Force in Rwanda. Later known as AUSMED, the unit distinguished itself by providing medical aid to the UN Force and to the Rwandan people. A number of the MSF were at the Kibeho massacre of 22 April 1995, which a small Australian team witnessed the massacre of over 2,000 people by the RPF. Restricted by the UN Mandate and the Rules of Engagement, the Australian soldiers could only look on in horror as to what had unfolded in front of them. Under fire and often under the threat of the RPF, the Australians managed to set up a Casualty Evacuation station and conduct triage and treatment for the wounded Hutus.