Serbian combat engineers participating in peacekeeping operations find that daily tasks are significantly different from engineering at home – says Serbian Army Major Zoran Nestorović
Recently the Army of Serbia joined the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP – United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) with a staff officer and six members (Major Zoran Nestorovic, NCOs Predrag Pantoš, Goran Milosevic, Aleksandar Beočanin, Dragan Maric, Bojan Todorovic and Corporal Ivan Jonović) of the Ministry of Defense and the Army of Serbia in the Hungarian-Slovenian contingent. Serbian Army Major Nestorović describes the Serbian experience in Cyprus.
“UNFICYP command is located on the former international airport in Nicosia, which is located in the zone of separation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The description of my task is mainly to, as deputy chief engineer officers, do my daily monitoring of communications for the unit mission, situated in the zone of separation. I also coordinate the work of engineer units in all three sectors providing conditions for the smooth functioning of the mission and processes” – says Major Nestorović.
For the past month in the zone of separation there were no incidents in which lives were threatened. However, there are daily violations of the separation zones, which mostly consists of the civilian population on both sides, mostly due to the current hunting season, which is very popular, as well as fires caused by human negligence and attempts to illegally cross the dividing line.
“As the deputy chief engineer officer of the mission, the biggest challenge is getting to know the current situation on the ground. The tasks we perform differs from engineering at home in the Army. In addition to the maintenance and repair of existing patrol paths, landscaping of the position of the United Nations, reconstruction and development of bridges, the engineers perform repairs, maintenance and construction of water networks, water supply units in the arid regions, maintains existing and building new housing and other facilities.
Nestorović describes daily life in sunny Cyprus. And he, like other members of the command mission lives in Nicosia, in a rented apartment.
” The usual “business day” would briefly be described as follows: regular contact with members of our contingent who are stationed in Sector Four, sharing of information during the morning meeting, the processing requirements of different structures of the mission, a tour of works, survey for new works and performing analysis and reporting on implementation of tasks . In addition to regular duties, members of our contingent to participate actively in all activities of the mission – Major Nestorovic said, adding that members of the Serbian mission they spend their free time in each other and having fun with colleagues from the Slovak and Hungarian contingent, and weekend visits to tourist spots in Cyprus while getting acquainted with Cypriot history and culture.