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Sardinians in Rogatica

By 1st Lt. Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#114, May 30, 2001

Rogatica - Everything is ready. Master Cpl. Andrea Corrias, the section leader, has received his orders. All details were carefully planned, and his men are already on the two "Vuemes" (what the Italians call their VM-90 trucks) with the engines running. Today's task is a patrol in the area of Sokolac, in the far west of the company's area of responsibility (AOR). And patrol begins!
"Patrols leave the detachment every day for a wide variety of missions, from supervising the resettlements where the DPRE's (displaced persons and refugees) live to the control of the "Orange Zone" (the border with Serbia and Montenegro), or the monitoring of the Federation and Republika Srpska armies," explained Capt. Ricardo Fani, commanding officer, Italian detachment of Rogatica.
This company-size detachment is the only one that the Italian Battle Group holds, apart from their main camp in Tito Barracks, where the main part of the contingent is based. Located in a former hotel in the centre of Rogatica, it will soon be moved to the outskirts of the town, where a new camp is being built. The company provides security to the difficult area between Gorazde and Srebrenica, divided into Bosnian-Serb (Republika Srpska) and Bosniac (Federation) zones, which witnessed some of the worst bloodbaths during the war.
Unlike the rest of the Italian Battle Group personnel, mainly Alpini (mountain troops), members of the 151st Infantry Regiment compose the coy, Sassari Brigade based in Cagliari, Sardinia. After tours in 1996 and 1998 in BiH, and in 2000 in Kosovo, it is the fourth time that this regiment has provided personnel for peacekeeping operations.
"The company incorporates four officers, 14 non-commissioned officers and 124 from other ranks, organised in three operational and one logistic platoon. The Cavalry Squadron from "Lanceri di Novara" Regiment supports the coy with a quick reaction platoon," explained 1st Lt. Ivan Enis, deputy commander. "One platoon is engaged in security tasks within the detachment every day and the 'antenna' of Zahrid (a re-broadcasting station). The other two platoons are involved in operational tasks."
"Co-operation with local police and international organisations such as IPTF (United Nations International Police Task Force) in Visegrad or Gorazde is usual. The area of Gorazde, with 25 resettlements and about 1,000 DPRE is a 'traditional' hot spot in BiH. Fortunately, for the time being, the situation is quiet and under control," Fani explained. "We are now co-operating with ICMP (International Commission for Missing People) concerning some exhumations to be performed in Kurtalici, near Visegrad."
Capt. Gennaro Palermo is another very busy member of the detachment. He is the medic. "Italian soldiers' health is good, so he has time to provide medical assistance to locals. He dispatches every Monday in Rogatica, but also goes often to other places like Visegrad, Kosovo Polje or Zepa," Fani said. "We help the local population in many other ways, like carrying water, distributing humanitarian aid or demining, like the Italian Battle Group EOD Team has recently done in the area of Gorazde," he concluded.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Italy
SFOR at Work