By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#118, July 25, 2001
After the incident which happened on Pelican
Route and the disappointing results of Operation Harvest (see
SFOR Informer No. 116), the British from the Royal Green
Jacket regiment organised a new collection of illegal weapons
in Mrkonjic Grad area Tuesday July 17.
Mrkonjic Grad municipality - A soldier with a green beret on his
head knocked on the door. A little woman opened it. 2nd Lt. Ed
Poynter asked her through an interpreter if she had any weapons
or explosives and if it was possible to check around the garden
and within the house. The lady at first said she had no weapons
but agreed to let Toby, the cocker spaniel, and his master, Lance
Cpl. Dan Gibson, enter her wooden house. After a moment she came
back with a ancient holster without a weapon. The soldier examined
it, then returned it to the lady who dropped it to the ground
and then had a laugh with the British.
Poynter explained that contrary to the first time, we did
not publicise the Operation. The British are there for the
second time in less than two weeks. The first Operation Harvest
in the area had not been very fruitful. He added: We are
there to make everything safer, to avoid an accident, like the
other day. Friday 13 July, early in the morning, when crossing
an unusually quiet area, a Canadian SFOR truck had been fired
upon. Fortunately no one was injured.
Cpl. Matt Harris explained: Firstly, we ask for ammunition
and weapons and if it is possible to check with the dog. People
sign a 'record of search performed' to recognise that nothing
will be damaged and soldiers sign a 'confiscation receipt' if
they confiscate any illegal weapons. In this usually quiet
area, not a lot of things were discovered - only one AK 47 magazine,
one hand grenade, 10 kg of commercial TNT and several rounds of
7.62 mm and 7.9 mm ammunitions.
Military Policeman Lance Cpl. Mick Abbott said, (He) explained
to the people that (he) watches the soldiers, to ensure there
is no damage to the property and if they have no complaints.
Poynter added, the MP is legal protection both for us and
for the local people."
One man invited the Brits to visit his home, the weapons he holds
are a 25-year-old shotgun and a Mauser rifle. He has a licence
for both. Harris explained that they seem very happy to
prove they have no weapons. One landlord refused to let
soldiers enter, the son who is a policeman said soldiers
with the same dog visited five days ago, there are no weapons
in this house. You are allowed to look in the garden but not in
the house. So the soldiers returned.
How can we know if he was sincere or just fed up with soldiers
visiting... or perhaps if he wanted to hide illegal weapons?
Nations of SFOR: UK
SFOR at Work,