By Maj. Marie Richter
First published in
SFOR Informer#118, July 25, 2001
Sarajevo - Alongside Butmir camp lies another base
solely for the Multinational Specialised Unit (MSU), a police
force with military status with an overall police capability.
They are a self-sufficient unit consisting of mainly Italian Carabinieri,
a specialised police force within the military structure who are
trained in all aspects of public security and public order including
a SWAT team known as GIS (Special Intervention Group). There is
also a trained dog team and two platoons from the Slovenian and
the Romanian Military Police forces. Together they are able to
provide armoured support to all the multinational divisions in
SFOR whenever needed under the direction of COMSFOR.
mission from the beginning was to ensure public security and public
order in all of BiH. To enable them to be able to carry out their
mission effectively they have to be highly trained in all aspects
of military policing, from gathering criminal intelligence on
organised crime, civil disturbance operations, presence patrols,
counter terrorism and dealing with hostage situations. These are
all necessary to maintain a safe environment for the people of
BiH. They are fully equipped with Armoured Personnel Carriers
and a Slovenian Helicopter. Although
they seldom have to act in crisis situations they work closely
with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and are there
to support them and fill in the gaps in any situation wherever
and whenever they are required. Often it is just their presence
that deters any protesters from resorting to violence. By avoiding
any major civil disturbance, they plan to avoid as much as possible
any kind of repressive action and so give priority to local Police
and the IPTF to act first in any situation.
History of MSU in BiH
The MSU first came to Bosnia and Hercogovinia in 1998 in support
of SFOR under the command of Italian Col. Leonard Leso. In those
days they were situated inside Butmir camp in tentage accommodation
with limited facilities to train. However in February 1999 they
moved into their own permanent camp next door built with specialised
training facilities, a training village, a fully equipped air-conditioned
gym and much better accommodation.
Informer was invited into the MSU to interview Col. Cotticelli,
the Regimental Commander of the MSU since May this year. He looked
to the future and a changing role for the unit: We hope
that we will work closer with local police and be able to open
our doors and train alongside them, sharing ideas and experience,
and teaching them the necessary skills to manage crisis situations
themselves, this is the way forward.
During a tour of the camp accompanied by Battalion Commander Lt.
Col. Alberto Carlucci, SFOR Informer visited the gym where men
were having a serious workout. It is just as important for
the men to keep physically fit as it is mentally fit so we provide
them with the modern means to do so. There is also opportunity
for them to experience the sauna on site.
Once a hard day of training is over the MSU has one of the best
Pizza restaurants, which is open not only for the members of MSU,
but for all of Butmir camp to enjoy.
Training and Exercises