§ Mr. Ingram
As at 7 July, 88 United Kingdom troops were deployed as part of the EU-led multinational force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Operation ARTEMIS). The majority of these troops are Royal Engineers whose role is to improve the quality and size of Bunia airport, which is of vital importance given the remoteness of the region. The remainder are staff officers and support personnel. A further six UK military personnel are deployed as part of the UN Mission (MONUC), based in Kinshasa.
Operations by the EU-led force have gone well and Bunia is reported as calm, although the situation remains volatile.
§ Mr. Ingram
There are currently no plans to increase the number of United Kingdom troops deployed either as part of the EU-led multinational force in the Congo (Operation ARTEMIS) or as part of the UN mission (MONUC), although the situation remains under constant review.
Troops deployed on Op ARTEMIS are under EU control, and General Neveux has been appointed by EU member nations as the Operational Commander. Troops deployed on MONUC are under UN control and General Diallo has been appointed by the UN as Force Commander. As with all multinational operations, although the UK has delegated some elements of command and control to the EU and UN respectively, Full Command of any UK military personnel is retained in the UK.
The majority of the UK troops deployed on Op ARTEMIS are Royal Engineers from 42 Field Squadron of 28 Engineer regiment, who handed over from their previous tour of operation in Northern Ireland on 31 January 2003.