1 (NL) UN infantry battalion Dutchbat 1
In September 1993, the Dutch government offered the United Nations to deliver an
air force infantry battalion including logistic components for a period of one and
a half year. Thus meaning “Dutchbat” and the “Support Command”, a military unit counting
nearly 1200 soldiers. In despite of the Dutch preference to be implemented in Central
Bosnia, the leaders of BH-command decided that Dutchbat should substitute the Canadian
force in Srebrenica. 550 men, being the heart of the air force infantry battalion,
arrived in the beginning of 1994. An explosive removal service, an explore unit and
four Bo-105 air force helicopters were part of this unit. On March 1, 1994, the first
155 soldiers marched info Srebrenica. (One of the following units stayed continuously
in Simin Han near Tuzla). The helicopter unit did not receive clearance to fly to
Srebrenica and therefore settled down in Lucavac were also the Support Command recited.
Due to the Bosnian Serves refusal, their mission could not be carried out whereupon
they were withdrawn in September 1994. During the time the Dutch soldiers were settled
in Srebrenica, the Bosnian Serves upset the transports from and to the enclave whenever
Saturday, March 5, 1994
Ductchbat stopped. Serves are also preventing Canadian troops to leave.
LUCAVAC (ANP) – Bosnian Serves captured the village Podravno yesterday near Srebrenica,
as confirmed by a spokesman of the Dutch air force infantry battalion at Lucavac.
This week, under Russian En Western pressure, his leader Karadizic gave way to reopening
the Tuzla airport for humanitarian help. Podravno is found just outside the declaired
United Nations ‘safe area’ at 6.5 kilometres southwest of Srebrenica. On Thursday
afternoon the Servian combats started their military actions.
At the same time they prevented a Dutch convoy to continue their way on to Srebrenica.
In the Serves opinion, the Dutch were transferring too much items to Srebrenica in
a short time. They especially didn’t like the amount of ammunition that was being
brought over. The Serves also stopped the supply unit on its way back from Srebrenica
to Lucavac because of a mistake made in the papers at UN-headquarters at Kiseljak.
At this moment approximately 350 Dutch infantry soldiers are lodging at the Moslem
enclave. They have provisions that will last them until mid next week.
According to the Millitary Defence, the UN-leaders are negotiating with the Bosnian
Serves at Pale to stop the blockade. The Serves are also preventing the 180 Canadians
in Srebrenica to leave, to be substituted by the Dutch blue helmets.
The Serves complaints came out of the blue, as the first units arrived in the Moslem
enclave with no trouble at all.
By request of the United Nations, Dutchbat units will be protecting Srebrenica against
possible attacks. A second unit is doing the same at Zepa, which also holds a ‘safe
area’ just as in Srebrenica. With the capture of Podravno, it seems that the Bosnian
Serves are reinforcing their positions between Srebrenica and Zepa which is about
40 kilometres further on. This reinforcement can make quite some trouble for Dutchbat
to keep in good contact with the two Moslem enclaves.