An armoured Land Rover was recently put on permanent display at the Imperial War Museum in the United Kingdom. With it, came an incredible story of courage and tenacity. A story of CNN reporters who used this Landy as means of safe passage through some of the most hostile environments across the world – from Bosnia to Afghanistan. But the part that didn’t surprise me was the fact that this Landy, named ‘Pizza Truck’ was a Defender 110 – a vehicle as fearless as the journalists driving it, the real wheels of war!
This Land Rover Defender 110’s story started when CNN producer (and now diplomatic editor) Nic Robertson purchased the vehicle to keep CNN reporters, producers and cameraman out of harm’s way while reporting during combat situations. The vehicle made its grand debut during the Bosnian conflict of the 90s, driven by Robertson and fellow CNN reporter and famous investigative news anchor, Christiane Amanpour.
Amanpour, regarded as one of the world’s best war correspondents, has a reputation for making politician cry and terrorist leaders shaking in their underground lairs at the mere mention of her name. In 1992, Amanpour, Robertson and a group of reporters, cameramen and photographers ventured deep into the heart of Sarajevo to report on the conflict between the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the self-proclaimed Bosnia Serbs.
Journalists were often targeted in the brutal ethnic and territorial conflict and then-producer and engineer, Robertson, bought the Defender to protect the CNN crew on the ground from sniper fire. “We needed something that would offer protection for our crew in the kind of hostile environment that the Balkan conflict had become,” Robertson told CNN.
This came after a sniper’s bullet hit and almost killed CNN photojournalist, Margaret Moth while filming in Sniper Alley, Sarajevo. Moth had to undergo many facial reconstructive surgeries. Despite this, Moth was back in Bosnia six month later. Although she survived a sniper bullet in the face, Moth died from cancer in 2010….
CATCH THE FULL STORY IN ISSUE#20 of Land Rover AFRICA Magazine.
Read CNN’s Jonathan Hawkins’ original article on ‘The Pizza Truck’ HERE: