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BiH troops and SFOR work to reduce and improve weapons sites

By Maj. Tony Keene
First published in
SFOR Informer#126, November 14, 2001

Soldiers of the Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH) are working side by side with SFOR troops to move huge amounts of ammunition and weapons from unsafe or unnecessary storage sites.

Banja Luka - So far, more than 120 sites within the area of operations of Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW) have been reduced to fewer than 70. Those remaining sites are safer, more efficient, and can be guarded and maintained by fewer soldiers.
"We see this operation tying in nicely with plans by the AF BiH to reduce their troop strengths even further than they have so far," said Canadian Lt. Col. Dan Menard, the head of Joint Military Affairs (JMA) for MND-SW. "Fewer sites means fewer soldiers neededthat means eventually less money spent on the military that will be available for civil infrastructure and social programmes."
The Greek heavy lift truckers of the Hellenic Transportation Battalion, based in Visoko, played a major role in the operation. They moved 170 tonnes of ammunition from a temporary storage site at Glamoc, to two other sites, one at Donji Vakuf and another at Pazaric Krupa in the MND-SE area of operations.
"The AF BiH forces have the troops to do the job, but not the heavy lift capability, so we were able to supply that," said Canadian Maj. Stephane Damato, plans officer in the JMA section. "We are now planning the final stages of the operation, and everything should be complete by the middle of November."
As well as reducing the number of sites, Operation GAUNTLET is also separating ammunition from the weapons, which is the normal practice for NATO nations. Some buildings, which were being used as storage sites, belong to municipalities. They include schools, businesses and community centres, which can now be returned to civilian use.

Related links: SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: UK