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Spanish IPTF

By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer#102, December 6, 2000

Mostar - To make sure peace is still the main goal for all of the people of BiH, from time to time members of the IPTF make surprise inspections on local police stations. During these inspections, the stations are checked for anything that could be deemed suspicious activities.
They nearly always go smoothly, but what if one doesn't and the authorities refuse the inspection? This is where the soldiers from the Spanish Rifle Company B come in. They provide support to the IPTF during these inspections as needed. To be ready for this task, the rifle company trains on their role in such a situation with Spanish soldiers portraying all of the organisations involved.
The last training took place Nov.8 in Gnojnice, outside Mostar. The training is very important because the soldiers never know if or when they will have to react to this type of action, said Capt. Jose Romero, commander of Rifle Company B.
“We train every platoon like this, one or two times a month,” he said. “These kinds of operation are not scheduled ones, so everybody has to be prepared to do it. We have to be prepared for anything.”
The situation that leads up to force being used is a gradual progression.
“The IPTF patrol will go to inspect a police station because they think that they might be storing illegal ammunition, explosives or weapons,” said Romero. “At the same time, the cavalry platoon, which is composed of five vehicles, will be ensuring the security for the area. They can inform if there are any kinds of threats or demonstrations coming in.”
“Then the IPTF will try to inspect the police station. If they won't allow them to inspect, we send an officer back with the IPTF patrol and try again to pursuade them to be checked,” he added. “If this doesn't work, we have a quick reaction force of two APCs and two vehicles to increase the tension by being present.”
“If they must, they will assault the building and IPTF will go with them to inspect,” said Romero.
The soldiers must be security minded even during an inspection.
“When we go inside a building, the soldiers are specially trained to seek booby traps or explosives. It's very important for them to know,” he said. “We have an observation patrol that tells them things like how many people are inside, how many weapons, they are warned before. Intelligence information is the most important thing for their security.”

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
SFOR at Work