Italians seize weapons and ammunition
2Lt. Ilario Tancon
First published in
SFOR Informer#151, November 7, 2002
On Oct. 22 the 22nd Alpine Company from the Italian Battle
Group conducted Operation 'Brave POA*' in Brezje, a spot near
Rogatica (Republika Srpska). During this operation, a cache
of illegal weapons and ammunition was found. In line with
SFOR's mandate, this type of find is a step towards a safe
and secure environment.
Brezje - "Numerous rumours circulated about the likely
presence of arms trafficking in our Area of Responsibility,"
explained Capt. Davide Dal Maso, commander of the 22nd Company,
which belongs to 2nd Alpine Regiment, stationed in Cuneo,
Piemont. "So, my soldiers began patrolling the territory
in a deeper manner. In particular, they kept an eye on a group
of farmhouses. A patrol gathered information and took pictures
round the clock to check the farm' owners movements. Our suspicions
were confirmed when there were some suspicious movements at
After some weeks of close observation, Op 'Brave POA' started
on Oct. 22 early in the morning. It was still dark when the
Alpini of 22nd Company, called 'L'Impavida' (the Fearless),
left the Italian compound in Rogatica. About at 7 pm., the
area of Brezje was surrounded by the Italians troops consisting
in Alpine platoons and a platoon of armoured cavalry. At 7.30,
in the presence of the Local Police and members of International
Police Task Force (IPTF), Dal Maso and his men contacted the
farmers. Then the inspection started both in the houses and
the cattle-sheds and haylofts nearby.
"At first, we were very cautious, but after finding some
weapons, our searching method became specific and sure,"
said Sgt. Roberto Trotta, deputy commander of first platoon
and NCO in charge of security.
Numerous weapons and ammunitions were found: Fourteen M52
hand grenades, seven M75 hand grenades, two M36 hand grenades,
one M94 hand grenade, four rifle bombs anti-tank for M60,
four M80 rockets, two launchers, nine various rifles, six
pistols and 4,000 bullets. Moreover, there were also many
helmets, bayonets, holsters and anti NBC masks. A hand grenade
without safety catch was also discovered. Immediately the
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team provided a controlled
A long training
A significant "booty" which was certainly not for
hunting. All the material seized was catalogued and after
few days delivered to the harvest point of Visegrad.
"This was my first activity of this sort in Bosnia and
Herzegovina," commented Cpl. Antonio Rizzo, also in charge
of security. "I had an opportunity to deal with weapons
and ammunition that I had never seen before. It's important
to underline that this operation took place without incident,
in the complete safety."
"This operation has been successful, but the safety and
the way we conduced 'Op Brave POA' are the results of long
training both here and in Italy, and of much careful planning,"
concluded 1Lt. Gianmarco Laurencig, 22nd Company deputy commander
and in charge of one of the searching teams.
POA stands for Posto d'Observazione e Alarma, Observation
and Alarm Post.
Nations of SFOR: Italy
SFOR at Work