Somalia is Africa's easternmost country and has a land area of 637,540 square kilometres. It is located at the tip of a region commonly referred to as the Horn of Africa (because of its resemblance on the map to a rhinoceros' horn) and is neighboured by Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. The Civil War in Somalia began in 1991, when a coalition of armed opposition groups overthrew the nation's long-standing military government. Various parties began to compete for influence and power causing more inner conflict, which eventually led to the UN’s intervention in the country.
The United Nations Operations in Somalia I (UNOSOM I) was established in April 1992 and ended in December 1992, to uphold the ceasefire of the Somalia Civil War and provide humanitarian relief for the civilians, in conjunction with NGOs and other relief agencies. By the end of April 1992, Resolution 751 (a resolution to oversee a general and complete arms embargo against Somalia) was adopted. 50 UN troops were sent to monitor the ceasefire and another 3000 were deployed to the region to protect relief efforts. But the situation continued to worsen with more than 1.5 million people still threatened by famine.
In November 1992, United States offered to organise and lead an operation to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance, which the Security Council approved and authorised the use of "all necessary means" to ensure the success of this relief effort. The Unified Task Force (UNITAF), made up of contingents from 24 countries led by the United States, quickly secured all major relief centres, and by year's end humanitarian aid was again flowing. UNOSOM remained responsible for protecting the delivery of assistance and for political efforts to end the war.
The United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) was established in March 1993 to take appropriate action, including enforcement measures, throughout Somalia. It was carried on from the United States- controlled Unified Task Force (UNITAF) which had taken over from the in effectual UNOSOM I mission. These interventions were all aimed at creating a secure environment for humanitarian operations to be carried out in the increasing famine stricken and lawless country. The Security Council in early 1994 revised the UNOSOM II's mandate, stressing assistance for reconciliation and reconstruction. A deadline of March 1995 was also set for the mission. The 15 major political movements in March 1994 signed a declaration on reconciliation. This resulted in ceasefire, the disarmament of militias and a conference to appoint a new government. With factions still not complying with the 1993 and 1994 agreements, the Security Council extended the UNOSOM for a final period to enact a ceasefire and form a Government of National Unity. UNOSOM withdrew in March 1995 after no further progress was made.
This operation was one of the most important since Australian Defence Force (ADF) involvement in multinational peacekeeping. Australia organized a battalion and supporting elements, including a squadron of armoured personnel carriers, HQ staff, engineers, communications and electronic warfare specialists, administrative elements and HMAS