- SFOR, so as to carry out its mission, must keep the local populations
informed. The best way to do this is to send the information through
the media of the country, especially when the aim is to stop the spreading
For instance, in the North Pole Battle Group (NPBG) area of responsibility
(AOR), some rumour claimed SFOR was helping the local police carry
out evictions of people from houses illegally occupied. In order to
show the true nature of the work SFOR is performing, the BG Press
Information Office (PIO) organized a tour of the various sites the
NPBG is working on.
On July 26, local reporters were invited for a tour beginning with
a press conference at the BG HQ in Donoj to explain, among other topics,
the difference between a refugee and a displaced person. The local
television channel, Doboj TV , and the Sarajevo newspaper, Oslobodenje,
covered the whole tour.
In the morning, the group first drove in an SFOR chartered coach to
the town of Maglaj, located 25 km south of Doboj. There, they visited
building sites as well as the Civil Military Cooperation Centre (CIMIC).
Later, they came back to Doboj and enjoyed a local lunch before driving
to Grapska Gornja (cf. edition 89) where returnees have been rebuilding
their houses for a year.
Actually, there were close to 1,000 houses in the village and thanks
to the NPBG CIMIC help, and more particularly to the second CIMIC
centre located in the heart of the village - directed by Maj. Heikki
Wala, of the Finnish Army, 650 houses have been cleared, 89 have a
roof and 12 are under construction.
Thirty families are now living in the village again while 700 people
work there on a daily basis. A water system, an electricity network
as well as a school are being built. The tour eventually ended in
Besici (cf 89 and 92 editions) before the group came back to Doboj.
On each site, the reporters attended a short briefing after which
they could ask questions. The local press has thus had the opportunity
to see what SFOR is actually doing on the field and could report these
facts to its readers and viewing audience.
Nations of SFOR: Finland