A second team of Bosnian ordnance experts left for Iraq on Friday to replace soldiers serving with the U.S.-led force there. Thirty-six soldiers were to replace the Bosnian contingent that had been in Iraq since June. The contingent includes soldiers from all three Bosnian ethnic groups: Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.
The unit, comprised of three teams of 10 officers and a command team of six, were to be deployed in the West Zone near Fallujah, alongside U.S. troops. Their job is to identify and destroy unexploded ordnance, but they will not be involved in demining. This unit will be replaced by another Bosnian team in six months.
When the first group was deployed the opposition and human rights groups criticized the government's decision to deploy troops to Iraq, saying it was "inappropriate" given the fact that international peacekeepers were still serving in Bosnia. A 7,500-strong European force monitors the peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war that left the country divided into a Bosnian Serb ministate and a Bosniak-Croat federation, informs the AP. N.U.