MSU and GBG keep the peace
Staff Sgt. Lisa M. Simpson
First published in
SFOR Informer#132, February 14, 2002
Who assists the Multinational Specialised Unit (MSU) with
crowd control in Multinational Division Southeast? The Rajlovac
- based German Battle Group are training with the MSU, learning
how to manage hostile situations.
Camp Butmir - A crowd of angry, yelling men blocked the road
to town. Cars were parked blocking the road and the men banged
on them with sticks. Suddenly, the cars were ablaze and flames
shot into the air. The local authorities tried to calm the
people but the situation was out of control.
Disperse the crowd
Camp Butmir's Multinational Specialised Unit received the
call and arrived on the scene augmented by the German Battle
Group (GBG) from Rajlovac. Using a two-colour box method -
with the MSU's Italian Carabinieri (Military Police) operating
as the blue box and the GBG as the green - the two quickly
fell into their respective riot-control roles. Systematically,
they worked together to disperse the crowd.
Although the angry mob was actually a team from the MSU, the
yelling, the cars and the fire were all real during the joint
training exercise conducted at the MSU compound on Camp Butmir
With helmets on, protective plastic shields raised, the blue
box walked down the dirt road, approaching the mob first.
"The blue box is trying to speak to the people to get
the crowd to disburse," explained Warrant Officer Guiseppe
Faddo, MSU's deputy training officer. Leaving peacefully was
not the plan for that mob; their chants escalated and they
hurled bottles at the MSU, forcing them to crouch under their
shields. Behind the blue team, the GBG began lining up two
tanks to the rear of an armoured Carabinieri vehicle, ready
to provide back up.
Driving slowly, the armoured Carabinieri vehicle moved down
the road next. A team got out with a water hose and began
spraying the fire. The chemical reaction emitted a thick cloud
of white smoke, blanketing the area and providing a screen
for the blue box.
Blue and green box
Still angry, someone from the crowd fired a weapon. "When
they fire a weapon, that changes the scenario," said
Faddo. "That escalates it and we need the GBG to assist
us." The major difference between the two boxes is that
the blue box does not carry weapons. The green box is armed
and employs weapons as the situation dictates.
"The German platoon recently arrived in the theatre and
we are training them on how to assist during a real riot situation,"
said Carabinieri Capt. Claudio Lunardo, the MSU's training
The blue box cleared the road and the GBG entered the engagement
area. A crew of soldiers disembarked and began physically
securing the area, ending the exercise.
"The training here today was good, though only partially
realistic (for us) because we are not allowed to use ammunition
here," said GBG Capt. Christian Rink. "But it was
a very good experience for the soldiers to learn what the
MSU is and how we will work with them."
While SFOR and the International Police Task Force are currently
training Bosnia and Herzegovina police units to handle riots,
presently, crowd control responsibility still falls on the
Nations of SFOR: Italy,
Training and Exercises