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French Captain saves colleagues during
Mt. Igman march

By 1lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#103, December 20, 2000

Butmir - Capt. Krim Amara's quick reaction may have saved a lot of lives. During the Mt. Igman 30 Kilometre March, he leapt to the rescue as a fellow soldier nearly tripped the wire of an M-75 grenade booby-trap.
Amara, who works at CJ4 in Butmir, was walking in a group of ten, when several felt Nature's Call.
"If you need to go, stay on the road. We knew this, and for men it's not a problem. But for females, it's more complicated", says Capt. Amara. No portable toilets or screens were set out along the route, making the deadly roadside the only discreet place to go.
So when some of the participants in his group went off the road, Amara was concerned, and followed their steps closely with his eyes.
"I said to them; Look where you're walking. As one of them was taking the next step, I saw the tripwire. She immediately froze, but the pin was already sliding", says Amara.
The French officer reacted immediately, throwing himself towards the grenade, grabbing the fuse with one hand, and the tripwire with the other.
"I didn't think at that moment, I just reacted and jumped. It all happened very fast", he says.
Lying on the grown with a live booby-trap in his hand, he yelled for the others to get to a safe distance.
"The group was standing in the vicinity, four or five of them very close to the grenade. When they had moved to a safe distance, I decided to take my hands off it. I remember how scared I was for the grenade to blow up in my face. I wasn't sure if there were more mines or booby-traps in the ground either. Therefoer I left the grenade as it was, marked the place, and got the MMU to call EOD", says Amara.
The group continued the march, and made a good time as well. Soon rumours about the heroic act went around, putting Capt. Amara in the spotlight.
"I have been thanked by many, including COMSFOR, DCOMSFOR, and General Kelche, Chief of Staff for the French armed forces", says Amara. He does not look upon himself as a hero, though but merely as a soldier who reacted the right way.
"The first two weeks after, I couldn't sleep. I had nightmares, and my mind was exploding with thoughts and images", says Amara. He is still haunted by horrible thoughts about what could have happened if he didn't see the wire.
But all in all, he is happy that he reacted the way he did and that everyone in his group survived.
"At first, when people asked me if I would do the same again, I didn't know. But now, I hope my reaction would be the same. Anyway, there is no reason why we should lose the lives of soldiers in Bosnia today. We know that the country is full of mines. Be always careful, and never go off hard ground", he says.
"People here are not mad. There is a reason why they walk in the middle of the road. Mines are sleeping all over. The de-miners do a good job, but they have still a long way to go."

Related link:
Engineering - Mines and De-mining
Nations of SFOR: France