Harvest campaign: the days after
1Lt. Giovanni Lobuono
First published May 26, 2003
From May 6 to 8 the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
team from the German-Italian Battle Group's (GEIT BG) destroyed
a large quantity of explosive materials collected during the
Harvest campaign and the various search operations of illegal
weapons performed by the 'Saluzzo' Task Force. The figures
of those materials have been enormous
just like the
explosion that destroyed them.
Sarajevo - "We are very satisfied with the results of
the last Harvest campaign but we are more satisfied with the
destruction of all explosive materials. It's very important
that the population continue this way and, in the future,
facilitate SFOR's mission of collecting weapons." Those
sentences were the meaningful message given to the local press
by the GEIT BG Commander, Col. Marcello Bellacicco. The interview
took place the day after the destruction of explosive materials.
Really, the activities that allowed accumulating those materials
did not have a casual development. Harvest campaigns have
been prepared frequently and in great detail by the Battle
Group. Everything started with first contacts with the local
civilian authorities of municipalities situated in the Area
of Responsibility of the German and Italian unit. It continued
with the press campaign that preceded and accompanied the
operations all the time.
At the end, the materials collected have been put aside in
a specific site prepared by the EOD Team, led by Italian Capt.
Giuseppe Di Fazzio.
A useful day news
The Battle Group EOD Team performed its activity in a rifle
range 25-Km south from Sarajevo, at about 1,300 meters altitude.
The team left Tito Barracks very early in the morning: the
load was very dangerous and the trucks had to travel at very
slow speed. When arriving at the place, two specific sites,
called 'Fornelli', had been prepared for the explosion. The
four NCO specialists in explosives had to operate inside these.
The placing happened with low but steady movements. All the
materials have been placed in a specific position according
to their power, with a grit bag around and covered by explosive
strips. All this particular preparation was made so the devices
would explode vertically thus increasing the safety of the
The big bang
After very meticulous preparations that lasted about three
hours, the team leader ensured that everyone had arrived at
the safety point. Then he started the procedure before the
explosion. After a short countdown, he activated the detonator.
The black smoke column appeared after the loud bang and the
successive control by the team leader were the signals that
the operation was successful and that all dangerous materials
And now? SFOR is still looking for other devices to destroy.
The possession of illegal weapons in Bosnia and Herzegovina
is one of the most critical points that slows down the stabilisation
process yet. The increase of the spontaneous delivery of weapons
by the population is a good sign for the future, but the work
must go on.
The hope is that everyone realises the importance of relinquishing
all weapons, to offer a secure future to the new generations.
Nations of SFOR: Italy