One year later in Foca / Srbinje
Maj. Matthias Fieser
First published in
SFOR Informer#157, February 6, 2003
Jan. 05, 2002, the German CIMIC office in Foca/Srbinje
opened in presence of the then commander SFOR, Lt. Gen. John
B. Sylvester. Three soldiers of the CIMIC Company from Rajlovac
and three interpreters performed their daily service in this
small town located in Republika Srpska (RS), close to the
Inter Entity Boundary Line (IEBL).
Foca / Srbinje - The CIMIC office has several essential tasks:
to liaise with the Battle Group Company in the Area of Responsibility
(AoR); with international organisations and non-governmental-organisations;
with the regional government, as well as with local administrations
Co-operation with UNHCR
In one year 500 building requests and over 450 credit requests
were taken, more than 1,600 visitors, visited the office with
requests. In addition, approx. 800 external appointments were
Figures show the importance of the external office of the
CIMIC Company for the area of Srbinje. High-ranking visits
showed that the Office in Foca was well known, far over the
boundaries of the German Italian Battle Group. Most importantly,
the visit of the Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic
of Germany, Dr. Peter Struck, should be mentioned.
Yet more important than numbers, data and names and facts
are concealed behind facts. For example, a pensioner couple
Subasic from Lisovici, previously inhabited a windowless cellar
and has been moved into the transit centre in Lisovici. Also,
the family Haso from Ustikolina, that can now look forward
to the delivery of windows from the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR). The family can finally inhabit two rooms
in their house.
The CIMIC office also supported the schools and the kindergarten
of Srbinje. German soldiers distributed small Christmas gifts
to the 82 children from the kindergarten.
Asked for the tasks of the office, Fieser said: "Our
major task is to offer an interface between SFOR and all citizens
from the municipality and the surrounding countryside. The
office is freely accessible; everyone can directly contact
Some citizens in the municipality don't have the possibility
to visit our main office. Therefore we operate seven external
offices in the surrounding villages. For the moment our special
attention is on the winterization project, funded by Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. We
are responsible for 29 distressed families, we provide them
with food, firewood and groceries. We also provide them with
beds and ovens. The office from Foca moves eight tons food
in close co-operation with the patrols of the Battle Group
Company settled in Filipovici, and approx. nine tons of firewood.
This ambitious project should be completed by the middle of
February 2003. The team works under high pressure, in order
to reach this date.
For this reason we will celebrate our one-year's anniversary
only after we finish this job"
For the soldiers from the CIMIC office, the work is not an
easy. Poverty and are still, years after the war in Bosnia
and Herzegovina, omnipresent. "The ratio of the citizens
in and around Srbinje is low compared to the needs that exists
in other communities in and around this country.That is why
the CIMIC office in Srbinje tries, besides the everyday business,
to reach as much as possible children and young people. "The
children and the youth are the future of this country,"
said Fieser at the conclusion.
Nations of SFOR: Germany