SAJ = “Special Antiterrorist Division (or Unit).”


















"Special Antiterrorist Division (or Unit)."



The main anti-terrorist unit in Serbia is the "Specijalna Antiteroristicka Jedinica, (SAJ)," or "Special Antiterrorist Division (or Unit)." Created in the mid-1970s by Radovan Stojicic Badza, who became the unit’s first commander, the SAJ ‘Specijalci’ got their first taste of action in 1989 at the miners’ strikes in the Serbian province of Kosovo. It was here that they crushed the demonstrations, and became well-known. The legend says that Badza not only created a plan to storm the mine where the workers were protesting, but nominated himself to be the commander-on-scene and to lead the assault himself. After the strikes, the unit grew very quickly, and would allegedly participate in operations in Eastern Slavonia, maybe even in Eastern Bosnia, and in Kosovo again many years later.






One part of SAJ is employed in fighting "pure" crime, while the other is used for "special missions." It is not known how many are in each part, but they can be transferred from one "part" to another whenever that is deemed necessary. There is also a rumor of a secret unit, one which serves as a bodyguards for businessmen and companies. Members of the SAJ differ from special purposes units of the MUP (Ministry of Internal Affairs), although both report to the Ministry.


SAJ was originally stationed at Belgrade Airport when their commander was Radovan Stojcic Badza. Later they were relocated to Batajnica Airport under a new commander, Zoran Simovic Tutinac. The entire SAJ is under the command of General Obrad Stevanovic, Commander of the Serbian Special Police Forces. Today, there are two SAJ units, one in Vojvodina, the other in Kosovo. Originally, the SAJ numbered about 200 men, but their numbers have been steadily increasing and now may number around 500 members.


Members of SAJ are better equipped and clothed than any other Serbian police units, as all counter-terrorist units in the world are. There are several training "centers" for the SAJ, one of which is the Paklenik training center in Goc, where they have a model town for training in warfare in an urban environment. The average SAJ operator is between 20 and 35 years in age. He must all be athletic and proficient in martial arts. Recruiting is conducted on May 13 every year.



The SAJ is equipped with helicopters of the US Jet Ranger and Long Ranger types. Unlike the special units of the JNA (Yugoslavian Army), the special unit from Batajnica uses the Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun and the Heckler & Koch G-3 semi-automatic sniper rifles (they have already been used for 17 years), in addition to various Yugoslavian-produced weapons such as the M-70 (Licensed AK-47 copy) and the M-76 semi-automatic sniper rifle. They have the support of helicopter units whenever necessary. Several kinds of uniforms are used by the SAJ for operations in urban, field, and night situations. For semi-war operations they use black uniforms with black balaclavas.


SAJ’s most recent deployment was in Kosovo in the 1998 crackdown on Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) terrorists. One such operation was destroying the KLA concentration in Donji Prekaz. It took several days to complete the objectives. In addition to the SAJ, this operation included Special Police forces which will be talked about below. The special police anti-terrorist units, after destroying a KLA force in the village of Donje Prekaze on March 5, 1998 were redeployed with their equipment and materiel back to their permanent base outside the area.

Information provided courtesy of Peter Tomich


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