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    Kosovo EOD Teams Observe International Mine Awareness and Assistance Day

    Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action Day

    Photo By Capt. Rachael Jeffcoat | Participants of International Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action Day hold up...... read more read more

    ORAHOVAC, Kosovo— The earth-shattering sound of breaking rocks rang through the air, a gray cloud of smoke arose from the ground, then everything was peaceful again. This was the aftermath of the International Mine Awareness and Assistance Day in Orahovac, Kosovo, April 4.

    The Kosovo Force Multinational Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, Kosovo Police Bomb Squad, and the Norwegian People’s Aid, gathered to mark the start of the humanitarian demining season in Kosovo by hosting a demolition range and teaching classes on demining operations.

    “It’s a big collaboration between the multinational entities that work together in order to aid the local entities such as Kosovo Police Bomb Squad and Kosovo Security Force,” said Cpl. Alexander Leblanc, an EOD team member assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East. “It also brings everyone together and puts them on the same page, since this season is starting so that everyone knows what to do.”

    The demining season begins in April and ends in the winter months. During this season, KFOR EOD works all over the region of Kosovo, and can be called upon at any moment if a munition is found.

    In 1999, from March to June, NATO member states conducted a bombing campaign against the army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This campaign consisted of munitions known as “cluster munitions” that were dropped all over northern Kosovo.

    Many munitions are found in backyards or farms of Kosovo. The Mine Awareness and Assistance Day covered how to properly flag a munition if found and who to call in order to dispose of it.

    “It basically boils down to the region,” said Leblanc. “It has been torn apart through different conflicts, and the majority of the country side still as a lot of remnants of war so, being able to push out to the community, how to identify a hazard before they do something that could possibly injure themselves or others, is basically what this is all about. We want everyone to be aware of the possible hazards.”

    A humanitarian demining organization, The Norwegian People’s Aid, visited Kosovo in May 2014 to re-evaluate the need to demine Kosovo. After research through the embassy and other local agencies, it was decided that northern Kosovo did, in fact, need to be demined in order to protect the communities and its people.

    NPA worked diligently and partnered with KFOR EOD teams in northern Kosovo.

    “In this area we prefer not to have explosives,” said NPA Country Director Terje Eldoen. “We rely on KFOR for the EOD teams, we call them when we find that we have a cluster munition and that same day will conduct the demolition for us. So we are actually dependent on them and prefer this set up.”

    The Mine Awareness and Assistance Day in Kosovo demonstrated the KFOR mission of providing a safe and secure environment for all.



    Date Taken: 04.04.2017
    Date Posted: 05.03.2017 12:50
    Story ID: 232410
    Location: ZZ

    Web Views: 204
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