Plenty of ammunition for the Dutch

2Lt. Melanie Roodenburg
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002

While relocating a drainage pipe, local workers discovered an illegal ammunition cache. They were digging a pipeline at a tunnel near Bugojno, when they found an ammunition box. The Civil Protection Agency made a call to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit of the 17th (Netherlands) Mechanized Battalion Guard Fusiliers Princess Irene (GFPI). The EOD was asked to remove the ammunition found at the location.

Bugojno - The seizure was huge. An enormous amount of live ammunition was found in the cache. Large quantities of small calibre ammunition and hand grenades were found. In total, more than 70,000 rounds and 2,000 hand grenades have been recovered. In comparison, around 25 grenades are normally handed over or collected in a week.
Much time has been invested in the disposal of the live ammunition. Due to the fact that the ammunition could have been booby trapped, the EOD worked very cautiously.
International co-operation
The disposal of the illegal ammunition cache has been an international effort. In co-operation with local police, the road was blocked off for half an hour at a time so the EOD unit could work uninterrupted. The obstruction of traffic was kept to a minimum. The ammunition site was partly covered by a path 10 metres away from the main road from Bugojno to Kupres.
Members of the Romanian transportation platoon took care of the transport of the ammunition to Bugojno. The five Dutchmen from the 17th Mechanized Battalion EOD had a mine clearing and co-ordinating role in the operation. Two interpreters from the battalion assisted in cordoning off the site and ensuring co-operation with the police.
All in a day's work
It took 24 hours to completely clear the cache. "Work took place during daylight. We arrived at the scene on Thursday at half past three. That left an hour and a half before it got dark. So at night the site was guarded by the Alfa-team and the following morning we continued our work," said Capt. Mario van Hassel, head of the EOD detachment. By Friday, at half past three, everything was cleared and the last of the ammunition boxes were on their way to Bugojno. These will be destroyed at a later date by the EOD.

Related links: SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Netherlands

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Photos: Courtesy of Dutch Battle Group

More than 70,000 rounds and 2,000 hand grenades have been recovered.

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Those ammunition will be destroyed at a later date by the EOD.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

The seizure was huge.