AFP, October 01, 2004
Bosnian Serb army destroys heavy weapons surplus
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina (AFP) The Bosnian Serb army has begun to destroy its surplus of heavy weapons as part of NATO-ordered defence reforms, the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) said here Thursday.
Approximately 1,000 pieces of equipment, including 120 tanks, 150 armoured personnel carriers, 166 mortars, 80 artillery pieces and numerous other items such as rocket-propelled grenades and rocket launching systems are to be destroyed, SFOR spokesman Gareth Jones said.
The surplus will be destroyed over the next 40 to 60 days, he said, adding that SFOR officials were monitoring the destruction.
"Once the equipment is certified as 'demilitarised' the estimated 5,000 tonnes of scrap steel will be sold for recycling," Jones said.
The Bosnian Serb army numbers some 4,400 soldiers.
Post-war Bosnia is composed of two semi-independent entities -- the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation -- which both have separate a government, parliament, army and police force.
To comply with NATO requirements, the two ethnically-divided armies have reduced their numbers by one third, from a total strength of 19,200 to around
Bosnia is still recovering from the devastating war that left over 200,000 killed and forced 2.2 million, over half the population, out of their homes.