The First days of the Mission in Bosnia

– The Mission –

Portuguese patrol in Rogatica Area

The Support Detachment is deployed in Vogosca, near Sarajevo and is responsible for logistic support of the main force: The BIAT. The BIAT is responsible for the security of the north road between Sarajevo and Gorazde, and monitoring the Zone of Separation (ZOS) around the Gorazde territory. The battalion is deployed in Rogatica, Kukavice, Ustipraca, Vitkovici-Gorazde and Praca. The battalion tasks involve lightly armored patrols along the road and ZOS, armored protection for civilians convoys and supply columns from Sarajevo to Gorazde, contact with the civilian population authorities, and military units of both sides (Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims).

Portuguese Light Armored Vehicle ” Chaimite “, being inspected for one of the numerous missions of the BIAT.
  • Organization and Maps of the localization of the troops on the ground Map

The News of the mission

  • On the 24th of Jan an incident with a bomblet killed two corporals of the Support Detachment; 1st Corp. Mouta and 1st Corp. Tavares who died in the service of peace.
  • On the 27th of Feb, The Portuguese Defense Minister and the Army Chief of Staff visited the BIAT forces on the ground. The visit started at Rogatica HQ, with an honors Guard and briefing with the Chief of Operation ( S3 ). After lunch the visit continued to Kukavice-Ustipraca and Vitkovici.
  • On the 28th of Feb in the BIAT HQ at Rogatica, a joint Military Commission for the Gorazde area with the presence of Serb and Bosnian military commanders, was successfully organized. It was the first presence of Serbs military leaders in meetings since the break in relations that happened in the middle of February.
Portuguese H.Q. in Rogatica : Hotel Park

To support the transition of administration of the village of Praca, the last deployment of the BIAT happened in the beginning of March with a permanent presence in Praca. Later the 21stCompany based in Kukavice moved to Praca. Kukavice Camp was returned to the Serb administration with lots of improvements in the houses of the former muslim village.

The City of Rogatica

On the 1st of March during a patrol in the ZOS of Gorazde, BIAT had two lightly injured soldiers in an accident with a fragmentation mine. 2nd Sarg. Oliveira and 2nd Sarg. Dias were evacuated to Rogatica and later to Vogosca and are well and ready for a few days of recovery in Portugal and before the end of the month are expected to be back with their unit. On the 5th of April 2 nd Sarg Dias returned to service in Bosnia, Sarg. Oliveira is waiting to return soon.

Following the Dayton agreement, 19th March D+90 is the next important step in the peace process. After that date each part can occupy with forces, the areas that are agreed to change from one side to the other. The transition process is going slowly with the date of D+90 fast approaching. On that date a new Zone of Separation will be implemented along the Inter-Entity Boundary Line.

The Mission of Portuguese Armed Forces in IFOR now also include Air Force elements: a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) operating on the ground, in liaison with the Italian Brigade, to support eventual Air Support actions for the Portuguese BIAT. The TACP is equipped with CONDOR armored vehicles.

Portuguese forces started to prepare the first rotation of the forces in Bosnia. Another Airborne Battalion is ready to replace the 2nd BIAT in Bosnia. The 3rd BIAT from the Airborne School in Tancos is already deployed in S. Jacinto finishing is preparation. The rotation may start next May or June.

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