Prozor - Capt. Michel Lesaffre, followed by two
of his paratroopers, looked at the main entrance of the Unis Factory,
guarded by a sentry. In fact, one day it was a factory, the next
it was the headquarters of the 4th Field Artillery Battalion VF-H
(the Bosnian-Croat component of the Federation Army), where many
weapons are stored, among them M-114 (155 mm) howitzers.
B-Croat Maj. Zoran Mrsic waited for the French captain. A meeting
was then held between the two soldiers, with the help of the French
company translator, Mijo Banozic. "It was just a routine
visit. For the time being, the monitoring of the weapons storage
sites (WSS) is one of our main tasks," Lesaffre explained.
"In my company's area of responsibility (AOR), we used to
deal with four WSS, but the number has been reduced to improve
the security, and today there is only this one."
commands the 2nd Coy, 3rd Paratroops Marines Regiment (RPIMa).
These paratroop porpoises (the nickname of the French Marines)
are now finishing their four-month tour in BiH. Once the regiment
arrived in theatre, the 2nd Coy took over Prozor and Jablanica
opstinas (municipalities), in the far northern section of the
French Battle Group AOR. "Local population in these two municipalities
is more or less 80 percent B-Croat. At present, two platoons of
the company are permanently in Prozor, one monitoring the Unis
Factory and the other involved in the normal activities, like
patrolling," Lesaffre said.
not everything includes patrolling inside the armoured carrier
with the helmet and the flack jacket on. The task at hand was
much more pleasant and gratifying - distribution of clothes and
toys among the poorest people of Prozor. It was a CIMIC operation
organised by the French Battle Group in co-operation with a local
non-governmental organisation (NGO) called "The Spark of
Life," run by Katarina Budimir. "Our organisation helps
the poorest people in the opstina, no matter their age or their
ethnic origin, from refugees to old people that cannot even move
to go to the bathroom," she said. "Local authorities
usually help us. Even the local radio station, Radio AMA has contributed
to the organisation of this charity action, announcing it every
French paratroopers, led by 1st Lt. Sebastien Berger, unloaded
the trucks and helped the NGO personnel to organise the distribution.
"Three truckloads of clothes and toys will be handed out
here today. Everything comes from France, where it was donated
by private citizens." Meanwhile, Lesaffre and Budimir had
a chat about the co-operation with SFOR, she said she is very
glad and hopeful. "It is the first, but I hope not the last."
Nations of SFOR: France
SFOR at Work,