Monday the 21st of June marked the last day where civilians on both sides of the ABL would have noticed a French PANHARD, a Polish DZIK, or the army green Bulgarian Mercedes G class, patrolling in EUMM Gori Field Office’s area of responsibility (AOR). The fleet of armoured vehicles based at the Gori Field Office consisted of 8 PANHARD, 6 DZIK, 1 Mercedes and 1 Danish Toyota Land Cruiser. They were used for patrolling from the Field Office since the very beginning of the mission at the beginning of October 2008.
These vehicles are now being replaced by brand new white armoured Toyota Land Cruisers, weighing around 4.5tons. They require quite a bit of handling, so drivers have had to conduct additional driving tests to ensure they are able to drive the vehicles safely.
The “old” armoured cars have gone through some arduous terrain and if these vehicles could talk, we all agree that their complaints would be outrageous and most probably indecent to report. They have been driven across streams, in valleys, on mountains, in snow, in mud and every possible range of difficult conditions. During their deployment, they have successfully conducted more than 1,810 patrols for a total amount of 176,000 kilometers. Now is the time for some well needed maintenance for these useful vehicles and repatriation to their home countries.
So that everyone working on the administrative boundary line can familiarize themselves with these new EUMM vehicles, patrols have been conducted with one Panhard and one Toyota for four consecutive days. This has been done to avoid confusion with another international agency which also uses white vehicles, but of course completely different flags and logos.
With the end of our military looking vehicles, comes an age of comfort with our new white cars. We deeply hope that the time for breakdowns is over and the reliability of the LAND CRUISERS will allow us to carry out even more patrols.