Bulgaria’s Unit Assumes Ashraf Camp Control May 6

Bulgaria’s guarding unit will assume control over the Ashraf camp in Iraq on May 6, the Day of the Bulgarian Army, it appeared during a videoconference with Iraq Friday.

The head of the unit lieutenant-colonel Marin Marinov told during the videoconference that so far Bulgaria’s servicemen were assisted by the Americans but as of May 6 they will guard the camp alone.

Bulgaria’s non-combat unit, which will perform tasks in a military-humanitarian mission at Camp Ashraf in Iraq was deployed in the camp area on April 11.

The 153-strong contingent will be responsible for order and administration at the repatriation centre, for the escort of refugees in the camp, and will also guard facilities within its perimeter.

On March 29 Bulgaria sent off its first non-combat unit to guard the Iraqi refugee camp of Ashraf.

Bulgaria’s parliament approved the government decision to send up to 153 troops to guard the Iraqi camp of Ashraf, about 70 km north of Baghdad. The unit should stay in Iraq for a year.

The move came a few months after Bulgaria decided to pull out its 450-strong light infantry unit from the Arab country. During the unit’s service, the country lost 13 soldiers and six civilians.

The new non-combat mission will cost Bulgaria approximately EUR 8 M.

Sofia News Agency, May05, 2006

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