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SFOR leaves Residency Compound

By Sgt. Maj. Patrick van de Poele
First published in
SFOR Informer #70, 15 Sept, 1999.

Sarajevo - Headquarter elements of the successive peace keeping forces in Bosnia and Hercegovina based themselves in Sarajevo. They made do with buildings that were available at the time the need was felt. Some of these buildings were passed on from UNPROFOR to IFOR and finally handed over to HQ SFOR.. This resulted in HQ SFOR and its support elements being housed in a number of different locations and buildings all over the city.

Along the Alipasina, the main road leaving the centre of Sarajevo and heading North past Zetra and Kosevo stadiums, is one of these locations. Along this road is an exclusive area, with a number of houses and buildings behind high walls and shaded by big old trees. Tucked in between the United States Embassy and a Bosnia and Hercegovina Armed Forces building stands the SFOR compound known as "Residency".

With the building of Butmir 2000 and the regrouping of HQ SFOR in the new installations there, the decision to close Residency was taken. The elements working were the first to relocate to the brand new purpose-built locations. The majority of the people working in Residency lived in another small compound, "Parliament" which will also be closed before the end of September. This meant that the people in Residency have moved both their work location and their lodging to Butmir 2000. The two major units based in Residency were the Combined Joint Civil-Military Task Force (CJCMTF) Staff and the Combined Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (CJPOTF).

The 'legend' amongst SFOR staff has it that Residency received its name from having been one of Tito's homes. In fact it was the residence of the President of Bosnia and Hercegovina after WWII and then belonged was a residence building of the Communist Party. At the outbreak of the war the building housed party political offices.

The local civilians working in the compound however give the origin of the name Residency to the days of UNPROFOR when Gen. Rose occupied the building, and it really took root with the arrival of Admiral Leighton Smith, COMIFOR and his HQ Staff.

The entrance, guarded by a double gate is covered by a Turkish Armoured Personnel Carrier and visitors are carefully checked by thorough Turkish soldiers.

Once inside the compound vehicles are parked directly to the right of the entrance. The compound being, now being dismantled, is made up of a large house to the rear of the ground with annexes tucked in carefully around. The compound in the early days also consisted of a multi-storey building that served as offices and lodgings. It was turned over to the Federation Army about two years ago which had several consequences. The first being that personnel could no longer live on the premises and moved across the old city to Parliament. The second was the arrival of that well known SFOR tool, the container. A large L shaped, two storied wing made up of containers was added along the north boundary to replace the lost office space. Fronting the main building is a large shaded patio where people could take a quiet coffee break or have their lunch or supper when the weather allowed it. This Patio also saw occasional parties and events such as charity concerts organised by the small close knitted community that lived there. Most will miss the special charm of Residency and it will remain in a special place in the memories of all who worked there.