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Operation Twister - seven tons of guns, ammo found

By Capt. Vance White
First published in
SFOR Informer#129, December 26, 2001

Total weaponry
and ammunition seized

• More than 230,000 rounds of 7.62 and 9 mm ammunition
• 22 rocket-launched grenades
• 12 rifle-launched grenades
• 22 rounds of M60 high explosive anti-tank ammunition
• 22 long-barrelled weapons, with
several magazines
• 45 anti-personnel mines
• A small quantity of detonators and fuses.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, the United Kingdom Battle Group (UKBG) collected a significant amount of arms and ammunition stored in unauthorised sites in the Bosanska Dubica / Kosarska Dubica Opstina (Municipality), Northern Republika Srpska, during Operation Twister.

Dubica - "At the end of the day we were successful in two ways: by demonstrating our will with a show of force; and by collecting more than seven tonnes of weapons and ammunition," emphasised Maj. Gen. Tonie Van Diepenbrugge, commander of Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW). In total the raids and voluntary surrenders of weaponry and ammunition reached more than seven tonnes (see box for details).
Operation Twister was carried out after intelligence reports identified 12 locations as possible illegal weapon storage (IWS) sites. More than 600 soldiers from MND-SW deployed in the early hours of the morning in an attempt to locate the weapons.
"The operation went very well, the people we came in contact with were compliant and helpful," said Maj. James Robinson, officer commanding 'C' Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
Because the searches of the 12 identified sites went quickly and without confrontation, the battle group carried on with the operation in the local area. Going from door-to-door, asking residents to voluntarily hand over stockpiled weapons and ammunition, lead to other significant finds of ordnance.
"Under SFOR's mandate of maintaining a safe and secure environment within Bosnia and Herzegovina, we undertook Operation Twister to show we take our responsibilities very seriously," said Van Diepenbrugge. "If I feel we need to conduct a similar operation in order to reveal and eliminate illegal acts, we will."
The local police, along with members of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and the Army of RS (Vojska Republika Srpska, VRS) co-operated fully with MND-SW when they were advised of the operation early Sunday morning.
Follow-up operations on Monday, Dec. 17, lead to the collection of more ammunition and weapons. Co-operation with the local police continued as they informed A Squadron, Household Cavalry Regiment, of 18,000 small arms rounds and about 80 assorted rockets, grenades and tank rounds they found that had been recently dumped on the roadside near the town of Dubica, at the Croatian border.
The ammunition and weapons collected over the two days will be temporarily stored at a Weapon Storage Site of the VRS until MND-SW co-ordinates their destruction. "The area around Dubica is much safer today than it was just a few days ago," underlined Capt. Darryl Morell, SFOR spokesperson.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: UK
SFOR at Work