Italian Alpini Santa

Lt. Michele Cortese
First published in
SFOR Informer#155, January 9, 2003

On Dec. 20, the soldiers of the German Italian Battle Group (GIBG) provided humanitarian aid for schoolchildren and the population of Cajnice. This was made possible thanks to the Alpini of the 2nd Regiment, who bought the gifts for the children, and due to the initiative undertaken by the civil population of Cuneo, the Italian town where the 2nd Regiment is located, who collected the goods for the population of Cajnice. Italian and German soldiers delivered the goods.

Cajnice - A joint humanitarian initiative undertaken by the Italian and German soldiers of the GIBG, took place on Dec. 20 in Cajnice, a small Bosnian village located in Eastern Republika Srpska. The about 2,500 inhabitants have suffered hugely over the past years from the devastating consequences of the war.
The soldiers of the GIGB reached Cajnice during the morning, unloaded from the trucks all the goods, gifts and foodstuffs and delivered them to the schoolchildren aged between 6 and 14 years, along with the local population. This was made possible thanks to the Alpini of the 2nd Regiment who acquired the gifts for the schoolchildren and also to an initiative undertaken by the civil population of Cuneo, the Italian town where the regiment is located, who collected the goods.
A Santa Claus for everybody
Moreover, following the indications provided by the results of the patrol activity by the soldiers of the Alpini of the GIBG that operated in this area, it was possible to intervene in a specific way. Wood-burning stoves and heaters in order to warm the school were delivered to the local school, since they are still waiting for the renovation of the heating system.
This occasion was also useful to provide humanitarian aid to the families most in need, as indicated by the local authorities, by delivering to them medical equipment, clothes and foodstuffs donated by the population of Cuneo. In addition, thanks to the medical staff from the Hospital of the German - Italian base in Rajlovac, it was possible to provide health care to about a hundred people and set up a local surgery since the one already present in Cajnice is at the moment out of order.
The schoolchildren appreciated the Christmas presents (everybody got at least one present) and the affection brought by the soldiers of the GIBG. The commander of the BG, Col. Marcello Bellacicco said: "I had a good time with the children and I was really satisfied with this successful joint humanitarian operation."
The peace present
At the same time, a Harvest action was fulfilled in coordination with local police forces and local civil protection. This action consented to collect arms, ammunitions and explosive devices spontaneously delivered by the population of Cajnice.
This successful initiative undertaken by the Italian and German soldiers is part of the humanitarian aid program that the GIBG is developing in its own Area of Responsibility, in order to improve the life conditions of the local population.
Another important initiative undertaken by the GIBG took place in Rogatica where the soldiers of 217th Coy, led by Capt. Bison, provided help to extinguish a fire that destroyed two houses a few days ago. The soldiers of the GIBG based in Rogatica are now collecting funds that will be delivered to the families that unfortunately lost their houses.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Germany, Italy
Humanitarian Aid

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Photos: Courtesy of GEIT BG

Italian soldiers unload the packages containing gifts for the population of Cajnice.


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The schoolchildren, aged between 6 and 14 years old, appreciated the gifts and the affection brought by the 'Alpini'.


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German and Italian soldiers co-operated efficiently to bring humanitarian aid to the schoolchildren.


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German and Italian soldiers prepare food to be distributed to the population of Cajnice.