By Cpl. Sébastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#111, April 18, 2001
BiH Southwest - The operation launched by the Office
of the High Representative (OHR) on April 6 to carry out a search
of Hercegovacka Banka head office and agencies went off without
incidents in the Multinational Division - Southwest. The bank
branches of Vitez and Tomislavgrad were visited by OHR investigators
and civil servants of the Federation in charge of seizing different
types of sensitive documents. These should establish if the banking
institution was involved in deals that go against the General
Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH (GFAP), as is suspected by
the international community.
that occasion, OHR requested the support of SFOR. The Dutch troops
intervened in Vitez, in their area of responsibility, whereas
the Canadians controlled the course of the operation in their
AOR, in Tomislavgrad. "Our role was limited to guarantee
the security of the persons having penetrated in Vitez agency.
The Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU) assured the surveillance
of the building gate, whereas my men were standing back. Everything
went off peacefully," said the Dutch Lt. Col. Henk-Jan Mayers,
commander of the 44th Mechanized Battalion (Mechbat).
The success of the operation mostly depended on the media coverage
ensured by the Dutch Battle Group and all of MND-SW. "Radio
Vitez is in the same building as the Hercegovacka Banka. We took
advantage of it to regularly inform the population. I explained
live why a safety perimeter had been established around the agency
and the OHR representative read a press statement clarifying goals
of this operation," said Capt. André Van Wijk.
At the end of the morning, the OHR team and SFOR withdrew, taking
with them different elements for temporary administrator, Mrs.
The same peace prevailed in Tomislavgrad, where the 3rd Royal
Canadian Regiment (RCR) was in support. "Elements of the
Battle group established a safety cordon around the local branch
of Hercegovacka Banka," said Capt. Guy Turpin, Canadian press
officer. The operation lasted about 65 minutes and concluded with
the seizure of documents and computers.
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