A place called "Jumanji"

Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente
First published in
SFOR Informer#134, March 14, 2002

A Tactical Subgroup of the Spanish Marines belonging to the Spanish Battle Group (SBG) shares a camp with the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) in Duzi, near Trebinje. The Spanish Marine's area of responsibility is SFOR's southern zone. They cover the municipalities of Trebinje and its surroundings, including the Montenegrin and Croatian Borders.

Duzi - The Duzi detachment differs from other SFOR bases in that it is in the middle of a forest, well away from any main roads. Travellers only end up there by chance or if they are lost.

The Location
"IFOR placed this detachment here, in an old Yugoslavian Navy base. At the end of the war, the VRS took control of this depot and began to store all kinds of ammunition. Currently this storage site is one of the most important for the VRS, with more than a thousand tonnes of munitions stored inside. We joke, saying, if anything happened they would have to search for us in Spain, as there is only a wire fence between us and the storage site. We have a really good relationship with the VRS. Surrounded by nature, life is very quiet, but with the arrival of good weather we are visited by all kinds of animals. This is the reason why the soldiers call this place Jumanji, " said Major Francisco Mugica, Chief of the Spanish Marines.

Patrolling the border
"One of the main missions here is patrolling the borders, especially the border with Montenegro. We control the border day and night with patrols; we also control all the border posts and access to them. We look for signs that could indicate andy activities across the border, either by foot or by vehicle. We normally patrol in armoured vehicles, but sometimes, due to the steep terrain and the bad weather conditions we have to do part of them on foot, in order to fulfill our mission. Our patrols work to make it difficult for people to bypass the border controls. We work closely with the State Border Service, we fined them in more than 90 percent of our patrols," said 1st Lt. Manuel Rodríguez. "Controlling the border against all kinds of smuggling is important, but it is more gratifying for me to visit and support resettlements. It is then that you realise the importance of why we (SFOR) are here."

Not too isolated
"We have two medical vehicles: an evacuation armoured personnel carrier (a Spanish BMR) and an ambulance. The evacuation BMR is an Intensive Care Unit, and in case of a serious accident, it can stabilise and transport two people. This equipment increases our medical capabilities tremendously," said Capt. Francisco Ruiz Silva, chief of medical services for the detachment.

Related link: SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Spain

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Photos: PO Steve Wood

The GPS is good but there is nothing better than a good map. Cpl. Sacrifio Martinez is checking his position.

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Duzi is a camp in the middle of the forest; for this reason Marines have to be ready to protect it.

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The BMR ambulance is much more than an ambulance; it is an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with capabilities to stabilise two persons.

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A Spanish Marine team with HUMVEE’s patroll the Montenegro border with.

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Taking advantage of the good weather, the medical team plays a game of basketball.