Commencement of Works on Cluster Munitions Clearance Project from Ponikve Airport 6 Site, City of Užice

12th April 2024 saw the commencement of works on Cluster Munitions Clearance Project from Ponikve Airport 6 Site, City of Užice.

The contractor is “STOP Mines” Pale, Republic of Srpska, BiH, while the subcontractor is NGO “IN Demining” Pale, Republic of Srpska, BiH. The company “Eksploring”, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been engaged by the Slovenia based ITF Enhancing Human Security and donors as a monitoring organization for this project.

The area to be cleared in accordance with this project totals 152,600 sqm.

The project is implemented thanks to donations from the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Embassy of the United States of America and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, through the ITF.

In the previous period, at the Ponikve airport, four projects were implemented by the SMAC – “Ponikve 1”, “Ponikve 2” and” Ponikve 3” and “Fence-Phase II”.

In 1999, the former military airport “Ponikve” was repeatedly targeted by aerial bombs – rockets and other large-mass missiles.

During the bombardment, all the hangars in which the planes were located were hit, and on that occasion, the cluster munitions that were in the cluster bombs-containers, as well as other weapons, with which the planes were armed, were scattered.

In addition to the hangars with airplanes and weapons, the hangars were also hit, which served as warehouses for cluster bombs-containers with cluster munitions and other munitions, so that those cluster munitions, together with other munitions, were also scattered on the surrounding land.

Cluster munitions and other weapons, which did not explode as a result of the bombing and fire, were scattered around the site and buried in the ground or were buried during subsequent bombings.

Clearance of this site will create the necessary preconditions for obtaining all necessary flight permits, as well as the reconstruction of the “Ponikva Airport” and the construction of new infrastructure facilities, which will give an impetus to the economic development of this part of the Republic of Serbia.

Within the monitoring of the implementation of this project, SMAC will perform quality control and monitor the dynamics and method of execution of works according to the International Mine Action Standards.

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