The initial military component of UNMEE included 220 Military Observers, authorized by Security Council resolution 1320 on 15 September 2000. The number of military observers was increased to 230 by Security Council resolution 1681 on 31 May 2006.
The UN Military Observers (UNMOs) are the eyes and the ears of the Mission. Their observations and assessments help provide a real-time picture of the situation along the border. UNMOs patrolled the Temporary Security Zone and Adjacent Areas unarmed.
The Deputy Force Commander also acts as the Chief Military Observer. Observer Management Cells in Asmara and Addis-Ababa control and monitor the deployment of UNMOs. The Asmara office has a Chief Military Liaison Officer and a Logistics Officer in addition to Personnel, Operations and Information branches.
To ensure the rapid flow of information and to facilitate management at the Sector level, the UNMO organization maintained headquarters in each sector, led by a Sector-Senior Military Observer (SS-UNMO). The temporary relocation from Eritrea in February 2008 resulted in the closure of Sector West and Sub Sector East headquarters.
Until the temporary relocation from Eritrea in February 2008, there were 18 Team Sites manned by UNMOs outside Asmara and Addis Ababa. In Sector West, the team-sites were located in Barentu, Shilalo, Om Hajer, Shambiko, Badme, Humera, Shiraro and Inda Silase. In Sector Centre the team sites were in Adigrat, Mendefera, Mai Aini, Tsorena, Senafe, Adi Quala, Adi Keyh and Adi Abun. In Sub-Sector East the team sites were in Bure and Assab.
As a result of the temporary relocation, the following team sites were closed: Barentu, Shilalo, Om Hajer, Shambiko, Mendefera, Mai Aini, Tsorena, Senafe, Adi Quala, Adi Keyh.
The team sites which remain operational are: Adigrat, Humera, Shiraro, Badme, Inda Silase, Adi Abun and Bure.
The responsibilities of Military Observers are to:
- Monitor and verify the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by the two countries
- Monitor the re-deployed positions of the forces of both parties
- Monitor the militia and police in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ)
- Monitor key and sensitive areas in and along the TSZ
- Investigate incidents and violations
- Conduct challenge inspections of forces of both parties in and along the TSZ
- Monitor the return of Eritrean Administration into the TSZ
- Monitor the return of displaced persons and refuges into the TSZ
- Support de-mining and humanitarian aid activities
- Perform other tasks as directed by the Force Commander or the Chief Military Observer.