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Civil Affairs Tactical Planning Team

By Capt. Jesus Campuzano
First published in

SFOR Informer #76

Ugljevik - Koraj is a small village located about 10 kilometres north-west of Ugljevik. In the town, most of the houses are partially destroyed. Beside a forgotten World War II memorial is the Koraj Medical Centre, which nowadays has only two rooms that are in working condition and a wood stove in the corner to help keep warm. From here, Sanja Stankovic, a nurse, takes care of the approximately 600 Bosnian-Serbs displaced by the war living in this suburb. "Once a week, a doctor comes for consultations, but apart from this, I'm alone to take care of them. I have to visit some in their houses because they can not move," explained Stankovic. Her face smiled thankfully when she looked upon the boxes with medical supplies, containing nappies, linen and bandages, that US Sgt. Shanon Herbert and US Sgt. Shawn Emmons of the Civil Affairs Tactical Planning Team (CA TPT) handed her. "Everything is welcome, for as you can see, we have next to nothing," said Stankovic.

The CA TPT, together with the Headquarters of the Russian Separate Airborne Brigade (RSAB), is based at Camp Ugljevik, beside SFOR route Georgia, about 15 kilometres away from Bijeljina, in the north east of the Multinational Division North (MND-N) area of responsibility (AOR). The team, made up of American and Slovakian personnel, is in charge of the Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) in the AOR of the RSAB, and beside the normal CIMIC projects, they also try to help groups of displaced persons, who fled from their houses during the war.

Living in Bijeljina at a collective centre are about 30 Bosnian-Serbs of nine families, ranging from babies to elder persons, who have lived there since they fled from their houses in Tuzla and Sarajevo, over four years ago. They have electricity, but no water. None of them have a job. For them, the CATPT brings a shipment of Humanitarian Aid, including baby items, winter clothes, and boots and shoes. "We were in the Federation area on Monday - all is destroyed. We cannot go back. We would like to go back, but all together. There are some places we can not visit without the security of SFOR. There is a lot of solutions people talk about, but nothing concrete for us," said Miroslavka Jeftic.

In Amajlije, a suburb four kilometres east of Bijeljine, the situation is not better. In this collective centre, 87 persons are living, including 20 children. The lack of room makes some families live inside trucks parked beside the centre. "For them we also have some humanitarian assistance. This help comes from different origins. Some from the US, my parents and sister, some from the material of Camp Demi (now closed), and some from the international community," explained US Maj. Jim Otwell, commander of the CA TPT. "You should make every effort to return to your former houses. Life is too short to spend more time here," said Maj. Otwell to the group of displaced persons congregated in the centre's dining room (probably the only warm room in the place). "We left Sanki Most during the war. All our background is there. We would like to go back, but our houses are occupied," answered Mirjana Zoric.

"In our area we have returnees, near the Inter Entity Boundary Line (IEBL), from both sides - Bosniacs returning to the Glinje area, and also Bosnian-Serb resettlement in the area west of Celic. But the biggest problem in this area are the Bosnian-Serb families, displaced with the war, that do not want, or can not return to their pre-war houses," explained Slovakian Maj. Slavomir Staviarsky, from the CA TPT.

Related Link: USA