Canadian soldiers destroy illegal weapons

SLt Petra Smith
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002

SFOR soldiers from the First Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI) Battle Group destroyed three tons of illegal weapons at a steel foundry in Zenica, Dec. 3. The weapons, which have been collected by the Canadian Battle Group, included small arms, machine guns, anti-tank weapons, mortars, handguns and others.

Zenica - "The destruction of these illegal weapons represents our commitment to providing a safe and secure environment," said Lt. Col. Craig King, Commanding Officer, 1 PPCLI Battle Group. "The melting down of these weapons is a clear and significant demonstration of the Bosnian people's commitment to working with SFOR for a better future."
Melting in a foundry
The process to melt down the weapons took about six hours and involved placing them in a forge at temperatures of up to 1,600 degrees Celsius, melting the weapons into liquid. This process ensures that the illegal weapons cannot be reused.
"This was an important operation, since this process ensured that these weapons will not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, including children," said Capt. Eric Richard, Joint Military Affairs officer, 1 PPCLI Battle Group. "We used tremendous vigilance to ensure that all weapons were transported safely to the foundry and that they were all destroyed."
Significant results
Canadian soldiers and local police continue the ongoing task, called Operation Harvest, by going door-to-door and gathering weapons that have been left over from the war.
"We are pleased with the response of the Bosnian people to Operation Harvest," said King. "All weapons collected in the future will also be destroyed in a similar manner."
The 1 PPCLI Battle Group has collected about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, 20 small arms, 60 grenades and 120 mines in the last two months, including a significant weapons cache. People are encouraged to turn in illegal weapons to any SFOR unit as well as to their local police for destruction.
Tomorrow, like today, Canadian soldiers are committed to collecting illegal weapons and to ensuring their safe and permanent disposal.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Canada
Project Harvest

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Photos: Courtesy of Canadian Battle Group

The employees of the foundry took an active part in the operation.

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Click on thumbnail to enlarge

At a temperature of 1,600 degrees Celsius, these weapons will never be used again.