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The Spanish Navy Infantry Battalion helps returnees of Ivanica

Photo: Sgt. Henrique Vale.

Mr. Milenko, a returnee to the destroyed town of Ivanica, gives an idea of the work facing him as he begins cleaning up his pre-war property in preparation to return to live there.The Milenko family belongs to one of three organised groups which are beginning cleaning up operations with support of the SFOR Spanish Brigade.The promise of a future life for the scarred town in the very south of Bosnia and Hercegovina, began in late July of this year when Spanish engineers removed three huge mines which lay under the principal route from Trebinje to the town (leading eventually to Dubrovnik in Croatia). The mines, composed of various 500 pound aerial bombs and other explosives, were a legacy of the 1992 conflict and posed a serious threat to freedom of movement in the area. At the time, the de-mining gained congratulations from the High Representative as it allowed the opening of a new border crossing. But the success of the action has gone beyond initial expectancies with returnees arriving from Republika Srpska, Croatia and Montenegro. SFOR is providing some essential services and a secure environment.