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Multinational Specialised Unit

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.
Their 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.
The future
SFOR 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.

Related link:
Training and Exercises