MATT pilot project

SLt. Meghan Marsaw
First published in
SFOR Informer#156, January 23, 2003

Multinational Brigade North-West (MNB-NW) Mine Awareness Cell has been providing Mine Awareness Training (MAT) to children in schools as well as to military personnel in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for many years. A gaphas been identified however, when it comes to the general population. As a result, MNB NW tested a Mine Awareness Mobile Stand to disseminate information concerning the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Banja Luka - “The purpose of this MAT stand was to educate directly to the local population the threat posed by mines and UXO left over from the war, in order to reduce the risk of injury,” said Lt. Mike Treffry-Kingdom, MNB-NW Mine Cell Officer. “The site also promoted other SFOR information.”

One of the most mined areas
The location of this first mobile stand was in the town centre in Bihac. “It was intended to target passers by, including children, to come to the stand and look at the displays,” said Treffry-Kingdom.
“Bihac used to be one of the most mined areas in BiH,” said Sgt. Ryan Mitchell, a mine monitor with the National Command Element in Sipovo, who headed the manning of the stand. “About 500 people came through the stand during the four days it was set up.”
The stand consisted of an extensive display of common land mines and UXOs found in BiH as well as numerous handouts, including mine maps, literature, and information on all MNB-NW mine cells in the area. The stand also had a UXO pit built nearby. In total, one M80 Rocket Launcher and 22 hand grenades were handed in at the Mine Awareness Mobile Stand.

Focus on the adult population
“We are continuing our winter campaign in the schools and with the local military forces,” said Mitchell. “With this stand, we are trying to focus on the adult population.”
An important aspect of the stand was to educate the adults on the locations and contact information for Mine Cells in their area. “We tell the adults not to ignore any UXOs, weapons, or mines but to inform the Mine Cells so that these items can be picked up and disposed of safely,” said Cpl. Georges Russell of the Royal Scots.
“We are testing the feasibility for conducting MAT directly to the general public in order to close the gap currently left by MAT only being delivered to children of school age,” said Treffry-Kingdom. “Success with this pilot project could provide a role model for future MAT in all current and future theatres of operations.”

Related links:
Engineering - Mines and De-mining
Nations of SFOR: UK

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Photos: Cpl. Roger Bell

Sgt. Ryan Mitchell (l.) and Cpl. George Miok (r.) explain the mine threat for the Bihac area to residents at the newly launched Mine Awareness Mobile Stand.

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Wearing their new Mine Cell sweatshirts and toques, Cpl. George Miok (l.) and Sgt. Ryan Mitchell (centre) pass out mine awareness literature to the civilian population in Bihac.

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Children from Bihac learn about mines and UXOs.

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Cpl. George Russell from the Royal Scots discusses the mine map with two teenage boys in Bihac.