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The 2nd CIMIC Centre of the NPBG

By 2Lt Alexis Clement
First published in
SFOR Informer #89, June 7, 2000

Doboj - The 2nd CIMIC Centre is responsible of one of the three areas of responsibility (AOR) of the Nordic-Polish Battle Group (NPBG) CIMIC Company. This area covers villages on both sides of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, of which 26 are entirely or partially destroyed. That makes a total of approximately 3,000 houses to rebuild. Eleven officers work in this area, each with 3 or 4 villages under their responsibility.

Just one year ago no reconstruction had begun in this area. Until last August when reconstruction began in one village. This was the village of Grapska Gornja, a key place on the road to reconstruction due to it location. It is in a passageway leading into the Ozren Pocket of Republika Srpska (RS) south of Doboj. There were about 2,700 inhabitants before the war, a hotel, 12 factories and a Hospital. Five hundred people are now working on the reconstruction. The objective is to have 2,000 people return.

The CIMIC organised clearing the area of debris and vegetation and serviced the roads. Currently, they are supervising the reconstruction while visiting the village once a day and organising civilian guards for the construction materials that were financed by international organisations.

Maj. Heikki Wala (Finnish Army) commands the 2nd centre, and Finnish Capt. Bertile Andersson has specific responsibility for Grapska Gornja. "People help each other a lot," he explained "the Bosniak inhabitants are concentrated on re-building their houses and they lend their fields to the Bosnian-Serbs that never left the village. In return, Bosnian-Serbs lend them their tools and their vehicles."

A few kilometres from there, in Pesici, they met more problems regarding re-settlement. The biggest one is that no bridge leads to the village except a small wooden footbridge. Vehicles must ford the river and this makes the arrival of construction materials much harder. Fifty-five of the 58 houses have been destroyed. All families want to come back here but wait grants. SFOR has promised to donate a bridge and has repaired the road. Once the bridge arrives, Andersson fully expects the reconstruction rate will increase.