SFOR calls Full House
by Capt. Felipe Quero
First published in SFOR Informer #23, November 12, 1997
SFOR soldiers of the Nordic-Polish Brigade (NORDPOL BGD), Multinational Division North, went into operation at 09:00 the morning of November 10, 1997, to render non-operational the Headquarters of Detachment 5 of the Doboj Specialist Police for violations of Instructions to the Parties of Specialist Police and failure to comply with Annex 1A of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Doboj - Nordic-Polish Brigade (NORDPOL BDE) has performed another highly-professional mission in its Area of Responsibility. On November 10, SFOR Operation "Full House" began, involving soldiers from NORDPOL BDE, part of Multinational Division North (MND-N). The aim was to confiscate all the weapons, official vehicles, communications equipment, and files, including office equipment, inside the Headquarters of Detachment 5 of the Doboj Specialist Police.
Operation "Full House" was deemed necessary due to violations of the Instruction to the Parties (ITP) of the Specialist Police, since some members of the Detachment #5 travelled as a part of a VIP bodyguard without SFOR approval and involving themselves in the confrontation in Banja Luka during September 8th and 9th.
This operation was designed with three main security circles. The inner one was covered by a close protection team, the intermediate by a Danish Platoon, and the external by other units from NORDPOL BDE. There were MND-Ns units providing security and support in the roads to Doboj, and a Kiowa Helicopter Squadron kept close watch on the situation
At 09:00 hours the intermediate security circle sprang into action. The Platoon, equipped with four MOWAG armoured vehicles, deployed along the front of the Detachment 5 main building. With the area secured, the Danish Battalion (DANBAT) Commander entered the building for a briefing with the Specialist Police Commander, in order to explain the intention of the SFOR Operation. The DANBAT Commander was accompanied by staff officers, translators, and his close protection.
The briefing lasted more than three hours, and when finished, DANBAT Commander came out and ordered in a Danish Mechanised company-sized unit to take control of the building. With SFOR units of other nations showing presence in the area, ready to move on order, the Specialist Police forces were apparently ordered from within their command to go to their accommodation rooms peacefully.
At 12:45 hours, two SFORs trucks carrying soldiers arrived, ready to load any equipment that might be confiscated during the inspection.
During this period, people wearing civilian clothes had begun gathering in the surrounding area, and causing the DANBAT Commander to order the deployment of MP units at 13:00 hours, as an extra security circle.
With the whole deployment completed, SFOR prepared to settle in for as long as would be necessary for the operation to be completed.
The operation was complemented by a plan to inform citizens in the Doboj area as to what was happening and why. SFOR also ensured that press releases were immediately available to local and international media.
This robust action is a clear statement of SFORs determination to ensure Police Anti-Terrorist Brigade compliance with the Commanders Instruction to the Parties, and to assist the United Nations International Police Task Force in the current restructuring of the civilian police force of Bosnia and Hercegovina. It is also a clear indication of SFOR intention not to allow any violations that hinder the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.