By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#116, June 27, 2001
In Banja Luka area, the Brits continue to perform
Operation Harvest in order to collect weapons owned by private
- The old man hands over the SKS rifle to British craftsman Nikki
Murdoch. She goes back to Staff Sgt. Dave Chivers near the outhouse
where the crop fruits from the hamlet are disposed: an ammunition
box with a machine gun cartridge band, two rockets, a grenade
and several plastic charges. At the same time, the British from
the Queens Royal Lancers Regiment mark the area where explosives
are grouped with a red adhesive ribbon. The rifle is put in the
Land Rover where the radioman calls the command post.
A few kilometres from there, in a construction building in Jankovici,
the CP receives information. This information is transmitted to
the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. They are in charge
of checking the explosives and eventually neutralising them before
their removal. Not very far from here, people handed in a grenade
without a pin!
To confiscate war weapon
Harvest in western Banja Luka was in its third and last day June
16. Posters and flyers informed people from the area about this
operation in the previous weeks. The soldiers combed the area,
which was divided in different sectors. Each group, of about two
or three cars with an interpreter had its own sector. So from
house to group of houses, the lancers went to see people who signalled
the presence of weapons and ammunitions.
The commander of the operation in the field, Sgt. Maj David Dakim,
explained that "it is illegal for us to enter the houses
without the owner's permission. But if we find a weapon or ammunition
we confiscate it, even the shotgun whose owner has no licence."
But most of the people are full of goodwill, give the weapon they
own, and let the explosive finding dog into their homes. A former
Bosnian-Serb warrior gave five grenades, two stun, two fragmentation,
one anti-tank grenade and a rocket. He gave it because he "was
afraid for his children".
result of this three-day operation was 183 grenades and rockets,
41 small weapons (rifles, shotguns and pistols), four AK 47 Kalashnikov
machine guns, 9,247 ammunitions and 61 different accessories (magazines,
). All these weapons will no longer kill.
If the command thinks that the weapon harvest is not sufficient
in some areas, another harvest operation will be conducted in
the same area. Chivers said, "If we do the same operation
in the same area, we will again find weapons."
Even if there is a long way to go, Operation Harvest after Operation
Harvest, BiH disarms itself.
Nations of SFOR: UK
SFOR at Work