Đorđe Božović

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Đorđe Božović
Djordje Bozovic Giska - wiki photo.jpg
Nickname(s) Giška
Born (1955-09-16)16 September 1955
Peć, FPR Yugoslavia
Died 15 September 1991(1991-09-15) (aged 35)
Gospić, SFR Yugoslavia
Resting place Voždovac, Serbia
Allegiance Serbia Serbia
Years of service 1991
Rank Paramilitary leader
Unit Serbian Guard
Battles/wars

Đorđe “Giška” Božović (Serbian: Ђорђе Гишка Божовић; 16 September 1955 – 15 September 1991) was a Serbian criminal and paramilitary commander during the Yugoslav Wars.[1]

Early life[edit]

Božović was born Đorđe Mićković on 16 September 1955 in Peć to father Gavrilo “Gavro” Mićković from the Kuči clan and mother Milena from Istok in Metohija. His father Gavro was involved with underworld activity and after killing a German man in Cologne, the family decided to change their surname to Božović after Gavro's father, Božo. Together with his mother and younger sister, Slavica, young Đorđe lived in Inđija until 1964. That is when his father got murdered and the family moved to Belgrade, settling in the Voždovac neighbourhood. His arrival at age 8 at Voždovac shaped the rest of Đorđe's life.

Growing up in a neighbourhood full of poor working-class families like his own, he often found himself a target of taunting and bullying by older children. He fought back, earning respect and street credibility. He became lifelong friends with Branislav “Beli” Matić who got him into boxing at Radnički boxing club. Proficient at street fighting, preteen Đorđe already had run-ins with the police. Growing up, his nickname was Debeli (Fatso) due to his chubby frame. He got his famous nickname Giška apparently due to resemblance to a bear of the same name at the Belgrade Zoo. At age thirteen, he illegally crossed the border into Italy just to show that he can. Upon coming back he befriended Boris Petkov and Ranko Rubežić and together with Beli, the foursome formed a basis for the mafia clan originating in the neighbourhood.

Criminal career[edit]

Giška had close ties to the Serbian mafia (he was friends with Ljubomir Magaš) and Montenegrin mafia in his youth where he reached the rank of Boss. Giška's relationship with other prominent members of the Belgrade underworld was marked by alternating periods of close friendship and vicious feuding, often with deadly consequences.[citation needed]

In the late 1980s, together with gangster Željko “Arkan” Ražnatović and painter Dragan “Tapi” Malešević, Giška ran a nightclub called Amadeus located in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Tašmajdan. According to security operative Boža Spasić, they were allowed to open the club with the blessing of Yugoslav State Security (UDBA) as a reward of sorts for Giška's and Arkan's service to UDBA over the years. However, after discovering that in addition to regular activities the club was also being used for drug running, UDBA shut it down.[2]

Serbian Guard[edit]

Božović formed[when?] the Serbian Guard paramilitary force along with Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) leader Vuk Drašković, Vuk's wife Danica Drašković, and Beli Matić.[3]

The paramilitary unit's training camp was located near Bor Lake in SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia.[3] It participated in clashes in the strategic Krajina area of SR Croatia near then-heavily Serb town of Gospić.[4]

Elements of the unit also participated in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[5] Božović was the unit's first commander, but was killed in action near Gospić.[6] Some have alleged that Božović's death was orchestrated either by the Republika Srpska or Republika Srpska Krajina government.[7] The unit's chief financier Branislav Matić was gunned down in August 1991 in Belgrade.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giška i gardisti zalud izginuli, Glas javnosti, August 1, 1999
  2. ^ ORGANIZOVNI KRIMINAL I DRŽAVA (3) Kriminalci u obračunu sa političkim emigrantima i špijunima;Blic, 28 November 2003.
  3. ^ a b "Serbian Guard, party army of the SPO", Danas; accessed 20 January 2016.
  4. ^ Zoran Kusovac. "Serbia's Inadequate Opposition". Archived from the original on 6 March 2005. the establishment of the SPO’s own paramilitary unit — the Serbian Guards (Srpska Garda), which attacked the Croatian town of Gospić in 1991 
  5. ^ Criminal: Death of Branko Lainovic
  6. ^ Belgrade underground, Vreme
  7. ^ Giška and guards died for nothing, Glas javnosti; accessed 7 March 2016.
  8. ^ Branislav Matić: target of unknown assassins, ex-yupress.com; accessed 20 January 2016.