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Guardia Civil core security at HQ building

By Capt. Luis Barber
First published in
SFOR Informer #95, August 30, 2000

Sarajevo - The main task for the Spanish Guardia Civil Platoon in Camp Butmir is to take care of the HQ SFOR security. Nineteen Guardias Civiles (OR-5), being led by 1st Lt. Manuel Carmona, who counts with the assistance of the Deputy Chief, Sgt. Jorge R. Serantes, carry out this task. This platoon is one of the constituents of the International Military Police (IMP) in Butmir.
The Guardia Civil was the first public security force to be created at a national level in Spain. Very soon, the Duke of Ahumada, its founder, endowed it with its famous Code of Practice, which establishes its character: strong discipline, sense of sacrifice, meritorious spirit and loyalty.
These features provide it with great effectiveness when implementing the tasks entrusted to it. It soon earned the respect and admiration of Spanish people, and was popularly referred to as "Benemerita" - those who are always ready for helping anyone needing it - this title was officially adopted.
They used to teach Spanish language to a group of Bosnian schools. They are also buying food and clothes to support a poor family in Sarajevo, especially with newborn articles like milk and nappies. They also send help to an elderly home in Nova Bila, next to Zenica.
"We are very impressed with the hospitable and kind character of local inhabitants. They are pretty nice," said Guardias Civiles Alvaro Muñoz and Manuel A. Carrillo.
Its general mission in Spain is to guarantee freedom and individual rights, and to provide for the citizens' security. Around 80,000 Guardias Civiles in Spain take care of this job. After more than 150 years of existence, the Guardia Civil is one of the most appreciates Spanish heritages, very closely linked to the Spanish people.
One of the most dangerous tasks they are carrying out in Spain is the anti-terrorist fight, mainly focused to the criminal band ETA.
"Our work here is easier than that made in Spain," said Guardia Civil Juan J. Perez.
Several times they had to carry out the evacuation of the Building 200 when explosive ordnance were discovered next to it. It was done with speed but in a calm way, people were evacuated but not alarmed nor scared. "It was a challenge for us," remembered Guardia Civil Agustin Fernandez.
Guardia Civil Julio G. Maldonado said he remembered another time when a package was under suspect.
"One day a suspect parcel was delivered at Building 200. We took it to a safe place and had a look at it. Since it was too light, I proposed opening it from distance. After that, it was only a German cap," he said. Maldonado works in Spain as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Technician.
They are also ready to support the others platoons in the IMP if necessary.
"And because of that, we are getting on well with Carabinieri and Irish Military Police," said Guardia Civil Jose Alamo.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain