By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer #99, October 25, 2000
Konjic - With Project Harvest well underway in Multinational
Division Southeast, soldiers from the French Battle Group have begun collection
of unexploded ordnance and ammunition in their area of responsibility.
One of those areas north of Battle Group headquarters in Mostar is the
town of Konjic. Completing a Harvest successfully in a town as large as
Konjic takes a lot of hours of hard work, said, Capt. Bernard Poupon,
commander for the recce company performing the harvest.
had a press conference in Mostar, then we started having small press conferences
in all of the opstinas and towns. The meetings were to let all of the
population know to gather their weapons during certain days," explained
Poupon. "In Konjic, in three places, they are supposed to return
Poupon added, it has been a group effort to harvest the arms.
"We have IPTF and EAF, our squadron and some local authorities collecting
them. We also have patrols collecting because we have a lot of people
living around the zones who cannot get into town," he said.
At one of the sites, 1st Lt. Maxime Dotran serves as 2nd Platoon leader
and coordinates the collection. It seems that there is not much to be
harvested so far.
we are five years after the war and we have done a lot of collecting days
before," he said. "Most of the items we collect now are unexploded
shells and grenades people find in their fields."
Dotran wasn't disappointed though as it was still early in the day and
his plan for collection was still in motion. "This was a former confrontation
line between Muslims and Serbs. That is why there's still a lot of ammunition,"
he said. "If you want to collect something, you must talk to the
people. They only give you information if they are confident in you. If
they don't believe what you say, they won't give you any information or
ammunition. Our platoon has been here since August and the people are
used to seeing us on the roads so we should see more later."
Closer to the end of the day Staff Sgt. Herve Ratelade, 3rd Platoon leader,
and his team were seeing some of the fruits of all of the hard work put
into the harvest effort.
"We have collected one mine, 56 - 7.9mm rounds, 139 - 5.56 rounds
and 15 grenades," he told Poupon proudly. Ratelade went on to say
he was very satisfied with the amount of munitions his team had harvested.
"I think it is good that we have collected so much because that means
less dangerous items out there that could injure adults or children."
Nations of SFOR: France