Bosnia raid yields weapons cache
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2003
EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Stabilization Force troops raided an area near Han Pijesak on Friday and Saturday, uncovering nearly five tons of ammunition and explosives.
The troops, composed of U.S. soldiers and Multinational Special Unit members, started the operation Friday after receiving a tip about an unauthorized weapons storage site.
They discovered two old bunkers filled with weapons and ammunition in a heavily wooded area about five miles southwest of Han Pijesak, the southern part of Multinational Brigade North. The soldiers had found seven other empty bunkers in the logging area by Sunday.
The weapons found were in good condition with little or no rust, said Col. Thomas Johnson, Brigade North deputy ground forces commander, who is in charge of the operation. They included shoulder fired anti-tank rockets, mortars, mines, rocket launcher and TNT.
Troops were still searching the area on Sunday, Johnson said.
“Our mandate is to ensure that everyone remains in compliance with correct ways of storing and accountability of weapons and ammunitions,” said Maj. Jeff Coverdale, Brigade North spokesman.
SFOR expects it will take several days to complete the operation, Johnson said. The troops have made good progress inspecting the rough terrain, but Johnson said he could not determine when the operation will be complete.
Coverdale emphasized this operation demonstrates SFOR’s determination and capability to stage swift, effective and combined operations throughout the country.
The weapons found were transported to Eagle Base and the ammunition to SFOR’s camp in Doboj. Weapons later will be smelted at a steel factory, and the ammunition destroyed.
SFOR will conduct an investigation to determine who was responsible for the illegal storage.