MEDAK - CITLUK (RUSHES TAPE 1): FIELD SWEEP; SECTOR SOUTH INVESTIGATION (AND VISOKO 3) [Allocated Title]
UNTV accompany CANBAT 1 on their sweep of the area around Čitluk that has been recently vacated by the Croatian army as part of a withdrawal that allows UNPROFOR to set up a buffer zone between Croatian and Serbian armies. Includes interviews with CANBAT officers who describe the total destruction of property they have found within the first twenty-four hours of their mission.
Two UNPROFOR officers come out of a building, manned by an UNPROFOR sentry. Two soldiers shovel gravel into a wheelbarrow.
UNPROFOR soldiers stand beside their jeeps in a field. Interview with Major Craig King, who commands Delta Company of CANBAT 1. He explains that they are currently just to the west of the town Liki Čitluk, in a small hamlet where, last night, his men discovered the bodies of two dead civilians. Major King explains that Delta Company has been tasked to follow up behind the military forces and to assess the damage to civilians and their properties in this area. So far, they have searched eight hamlets and found four civilians bodies, and three that may be military or civilian bodies. Major King describes the “incredible” physical destruction of bodies. He says that they have been burnt to such a degree that with some of them, they have been unable to detect a specific age or gender. The house behind Major King, with its scorned doorway, is where the latest bodies have been found - one female, the other possibly female, in a room whose window had bars on it so some confinement could be involved. The bodies are so thoroughly burnt that it is hard to be specific about how they died. All the places they have been were occupied by Croatian forces and the “destruction is categorically complete”. It is hard to assess when the destruction took place. Some buildings were destroyed during the fighting but on UNPROFOR’s arrival, some fires were still burning, indicating that fires were lit as the Croatian army withdrew.
Shots of burnt out buildings. Floors are covered with ash. Roofs have collapsed. A door, with the remains of wooden bars, has been burnt. A soldier of Delta Company inspects the damage. UN vehicles parked on grass at the roadside.
Interview with Colonel Calvin who says that UNPROFOR have been successful in the first 24 hours of the mission. After a few difficulties they managed to cross the crossing point onto the Croatian side and the first company moved into the front lines of the Croatian forces. The Croatians then withdrew so within two and a half hours there was a buffer zone in place. There has been sporadic fire at UNPROFOR from the Croatian side. There continues to be resentment from that side at the role of UNPROFOR and they were held up from moving into Citluk even though they could see that the town was being destroyed while they were on its outskirts. Colonel Calvin says that he has seen the results of systematic destruction of property and bodies of civilians killed within the last 24 hours. He says that although the situation is still tense, UNPROFOR are on schedule to reach the 9th of September line by 9pm tonight . They just have to move a further 2km forward. Colonel Calvin reports that a dismounted patrol are attempting to make contact with a small Serb enclave who have been caught on the wrong side of the line. He says that by 6pm tonight he will have moved to the final ceasefire line. Tomorrow UNPROFOR will carry out a systematic sweep of the area to make sure all Croatian soldiers have withdrawn. After this the usual checkpoints will be set up to control access to the area, followed by more thorough sweep of the area. At this time they have not begun to receive civil affairs requests from Serbs who want to return to this area. They have yet to ascertain if any properties remain standing for returning Serbs to inhabit. Engineering units will be brought in to investigate holes that have been recently filled with earth but it is too early to say if they are graves.
Shot of a breeze block building in ruins. Colonel Calvin is heard saying that this could not have been done by a few soldiers, it must have been part of a systematic plan to totally destroy these buildings using carefully controlled explosions.
UN APCs and soldiers stopped beside a burnt-out house. The APCs roll past. A bulldozer shovels earth out of a hole. CANBAT 1 soldiers look on. Fires continue to smoke in some places. Elsewhere, only charred wood remains. A UN bulldozer moves a car from the road. A building, collapsed. Clothes hang off a fence. A CANBAT soldier sits in an APC.
Interview with General Macinnis who says that it has been a well-coordinated mission between UNCIVPOL, UNPROFOR and aid organisations. It proves that cooperation between different arms of UNPROFOR, on both the military and the political side, can achieve results. He says that this is a “new reality in peacekeeping”, it is “crisis management across the whole scale” and in order to be effective cooperation is vital. The negotiation process at the Rivnik crossing point was tense but it shows “UNPROFOR is ready, willing and able to pursue its mandate and to push as far as it can do without taking unnecessary risk - by pushing hard enough that its clear to everyone concerned that UNPROFOR means business and that means having well trained, disciplined and restrained troops that cannot be goaded into reacting before it is absolutely necessary - this, too is part of the new reality”. He says that this mission shows UNPROFOR is a credible peacekeeping force, can carry out its mandate and will not be pushed around without becoming peace enforcers. Following this mission, there are renewed hopes for a general ceasefire and talks will take place within a short time between different military authorities to begin the process.
Shots of soldiers standing in a field waiting for an engineer to arrive. Fires burn. A toy dog has been left by the roadside. The soldiers find a dead body. One uses a metal detector over the body, another digs the body out. Soldiers then prepare to move the body. Another shot of the toy dog left by the side of the road. A fire crackles in the ruins of a house. A bird walks among the ruins. The soldiers, in face masks, carry the body, which has been put into a body bag, pass a UN jeep and out of shot.