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Operation Harvest in the Italian AOR

By Cpl. Nicolas Marut
First published in
SFOR Informer #91, July 5, 2000

Sarajevo - Harvest is a Entity-led programme aim at encouraging inhabitants of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) who still have weapons, explosives or ammunition, to hand them back to the civilian authorities.

This SFOR-supported programme is permanent, but to increase its efficiency, the MND-SE decided with the local authorities to launch a large promotional campaign during June and July. To harvest the fruits of this campaign, townships organised special collection days, during which a large number of collection sites were opened.
There are 19 Opstinas in the Italian Area of responsibility, of which nine have already organised these special days since the beginning of June. On 24-25 June it was the turn of the Central Sarajevo Opstina. An Italian team composed of one CIMIC representative, one Psyops, one EOD specialist and one Harvest officer for the Italian BG, Capt. Fausto Richetti, came to control the number of weapons recovered and their storage conditions.
"On a day-to-day basis, inhabitants of this opstina can hand back their weapons in two places: a police station and a civil protection office," explained Staff Sgt. Vincenzo Monastero, of the BG CIMIC office, in charge of relationships with the local authorities. "But during these two days, six offices of the township will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m."

These days have been preceded by a large promotion campaign. At the end of each day, a truck of the Federation army takes weapons and munitions to the Seminovac deposit. A team from the IPTF escorts them.

The Italian team, discreet but efficient, is also present to give advice to the local authorities.

"I check that the explosive material is stored in good conditions, and I can make recommendations, but without intervention, " explained WO1 Michele Urbano, chief of the EOD team.

Lance Cpl. Giovanni Mazzarini, Psyops, makes sure that information on the operation is spread throughout the population.

"To achieve a good Operation Harvest, a good information campaign is essential," he underlined. "But for this opstina there are no problems. They organised themselves very well and they have their own signs."

During the two days of opening of these six supplementary centres, 84 guns, 16 rifles, 137 hand grenades and more than 2,000 munitions of all calibre were collected.

"According to the persons responsible for the township, it is the first time that so many weapons have been collected in the Centre-Sarajevo opstina in the last four years," emphasised Capt. Fausto Richetti.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Italy