Finnish peacekeepers join Lebanese Army in detecting explosives
“Picket, sledgehammer, flagging tape!” UNIFIL peacekeeper Corporal Romain of Force Commander’s Reserve (FCR) is giving orders to his team as they prepare to set out to check for explosives in the UNIFIL area of operation in south Lebanon.
The work involves meticulous inspection of every little thing in order to allow the team of Finnish peacekeepers to carry out their patrol jointly with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). They are joined by other FCR personnel from the engineering, canine and medical teams.
“We are going to this point by this road, and stop to check the area if there is anything dangerous. Then we can start the patrol,” says Corporal Romain, pointing to “suspicious” locations. “Is that okay?”
Calm and professional, the Finnish section leader makes sure one last time that everyone is equally informed, prior to proceeding in their “mission.”
This is a scene from an explosive detection drill UNIFIL’s Finnish peacekeepers conducted jointly with the LAF recently.
Despite significant progress in detecting and destroying a large number of unexploded ordnances and explosive remnants of war since 2006 in south Lebanon, there are approximately 1,000 minefields along the Blue Line. UNIFIL peacekeepers work day and night, in coordination with the Lebanese authorities, in clearing the contaminated areas.
In UNIFIL’s de-mining effort, working with and training the Lebanese institutions – like this one with the LAF – is important.