Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (Serbia)

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Special Anti-terrorist Unit
SAJ CT member.jpg
A SAJ officer
Active 1978–present
Country  Serbia
Branch MUP
Type Special forces
Size Classified [1]
Garrison/HQ Batajnica
Nickname(s) SAJ
Current commander Lt. Colonel Spasoje Vulević
Emblem SAJ emblem.png

The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (Serbian: Специјална антитерористичка јединица (CAJ) / Specijalna antiteroristička jedinica (SAJ)) is a special operations and tactical unit of the Serbian Police.


The SAJ was established in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia due to the increasing activity of violent non-state actors in Western Europe that was occurring at the time from such groups as the IRA, ETA, Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. The unit was founded on 13 May 1978.[2]

The first commander was Franz Kos. Seven months after the founding of the unit, a decision was taken to establish on republic and provincial levels a unit with the same purpose. The Unit (Jedinica za antiteroristička dejstva, JATD) of the Republic Secretariate of Internal Affairs (RSUP) of SR Serbia was established in Novi Beograd on December 18, 1978.

The first commander of this unit was Miloš Bujenović. The main tasks of the new unit were to prevent aircraft hijacking, release of hostages, the fight against organized crime and similar high-risk operations in urban environments.[3] In 1983 the base was relocated to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport and the special unit was renamed Unit for Special Effects (Jedinica za specijalna dejstva RSUP).[citation needed]

In 1991 the unit was again renamed to Special Unit (Specijalna jedinica MUP-a Republike Srbije),[3] and its new commander was Radovan Stojičić.[citation needed] In 1992, the Special Units consisted of sub-commands Belgrade, Novi Sad and Pristina, all under the United Command of Special Units.[3] On June 1, 1992, the command of Special Anti-terrorist Units (Komanda SAJ) was established, with Živko Trajković as commander.[citation needed] It consisted of Belgrade SAJ under the command of Zoran Simović and Novi Sad SAJ under the command of Branko Ćuričić.[citation needed] In 1994, the Special Units were renamed Special Anti-Terrorist Units.[3] In 1996, SAJ commander Radovan Stojičić-Badža was killed in downtown Belgrade by unknown assailants.[4] In 1999, SAJ Belgrade and SAJ Pristina were integrated into the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit with seat in Centar 13. Maj in Batajnica, Belgrade, while SAJ Novi Sad was disbanded.[3]

The state security apparatus was under President Slobodan Milošević (s. 1991–2000), who used the SAJ as his "personal praetorian guard".[5]

During the Bosnian War, the SAJ had armed and trained Serb paramilitaries, and also participated with them in field.[5]

In early 1998, the SAJ was dispatched to Kosovo.[6] The SAJ led the Drenica operations during the Kosovo War in 1998.[5] The SAJ was involved in the Račak massacre of 45 Kosovo Albanians (including 9 KLA members)[7] in January 1999,[8] and the Suva Reka massacre of 50 Kosovo Albanians in March 1999.[9] In 2001 and 2002, several mass graves were unearthed in the area of the SAJ base in Batajnica.[10]

The Internal Affairs Minister Nebojša Stefanović announced in 2015 that the PTJ (Counter-Terrorist Unit) would be merged into SAJ, while the new SAJ would include only the best from these two units and other members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.[11]


The organization is divided into the Command, Operational Teams, Logistics, Sanitary Group, and Group for the construction and testing of weapons and ammunition.[12] SAJ has four teams: "A", "B", "C" and "D". Teams A and B are assault teams which solve complicated hostage situation, quickly enters into hijacked airplanes, buses, breaking into barricaded buildings, arresting dangerous persons with guns and criminals. Team C is the specialist team in charge of the sniper group, underwater diving group, group guide service dogs, the group of engineer for explosive land mines and group for biological and chemical agents (BHS). In executing tasks, A, B and C are part of a single entity coordination group, in which every team has clearly defined tasks. Team D is the security and support team, in charge of protecting important persons and objects that are exposed to threats of terrorism; further logistical support is provided by the medical group, the group for the construction and testing of weapons and ammunition, technical and emergency services.[13]


Various personal arms of the SAJ on display.
Weapon Type Image
M4 Commando (Model 933) Assault rifle
SIG SG 552 Assault rifle
Zastava M21 Assault rifle
Sako TRG Sniper rifle
Heckler & Koch MP5 (A3, SD3) Submachine gun
Benelli M4 Semi-automatic shotgun
CZ-99 Semi-automatic pistol
Glock 17 Semi-automatic pistol



  1. ^ "Novi odred Žandarmerije sličan JSO" (in Serbian). B92. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Naša elita sa tradicijom". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "САЈ - историјат". Министарство унутрашњих послова Републике Србије. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Human Rights Watch (Organization) (2001). Under Orders: War Crimes in Kosovo. Human Rights Watch. pp. 78–. ISBN 978-1-56432-264-7. 
  5. ^ a b c Dr Damian Popolo (28 March 2013). A New Science of International Relations: Modernity, Complexity and the Kosovo Conflict. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 199–. ISBN 978-1-4094-8916-0. 
  6. ^ Robert Thomas (January 1999). Serbia Under Milošević: Politics in the 1990s. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 407–. ISBN 978-1-85065-367-7. 
  7. ^ Judah, Tim (2000). Kosovo: War and Revenge. Yale University Press. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Strauss, Julius (2001-06-30). "Massacre that started long haul to justice". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  9. ^ "Four Serb Policemen Jailed for Suva Reka Massacre". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  10. ^ W. J. Mike Groen; Nicholas Márquez-Grant; Rob Janaway (27 April 2015). Forensic Archaeology: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-1-118-74598-4. 
  11. ^ "Stefanović: SAJ i PTJ postaju jedna jedinica". Blic. 
  12. ^ "САЈ - организација". Министарство унутрашњих послова Републике Србије. 
  13. ^ "Komandosi uvek spremni za zestoku akciju". Blic Online. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 

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