The Special Anti-terrorist Unit, Specijalna Antiteroristicka Jedinica (SAJ), Serbia’s prime counter-terrorist unit.
The Special Anti-terrorist Unit was created in 18.12.1978, with Radovan Stojicic Badza as its first commander. The unit is under the control of the Ministry of Interior (MUP), specifically by Gen. Obrad Stejanovic, the head of all special units of the MUP. After Stojicic, the unit’s commander was a Zoran Simovic Tutinac, and the latest commander is said to be Zivko Trajkovic.
Initially headquartered at the Belgrade airport, they were relocated to Batajnica, while maintaining a training center at Paklenink, complete with a model town to practice close quarters battle (CQB) and other skills. Originally, the SAJ numbered around two hundred men. The SAJ concerns itself with “extraordinary situations,” such as combating terrorism, insurgency, organized crime, hostage situations and high risk warrant executions, as well as VIP protection.
Like most counter-terrorist units around the world, the SAJ have standard SWAT equipment, SAJ is equipped with MP5 variants, SIG SG 552, H&K G3 SSG sniper rifles, and various other Western weapons. Sophisticated communications are also at the SAJ’s disposal.
For transportation, the SAJ is said to employ US-built Jet Ranger and Long Ranger helicopters, and it is probable that if needed, they can draw on other police and army resources if needed. They are reported to favor the Austrian Pinzgauer 6×6 all-terrain vehicle, and for urban operations in Kosovo, the SAJ reportedly used white Audi and black BMW cars. There is some confusion and conflicting reports about the uniforms the SAJ uses. It is almost certain that there is a variety of uniforms used for a variety of types of operations. It is also almost certain that uniforms that are used give a tactical advantage and camouflage, therefore, reports of black uniforms and the standard blue disruptive camouflage BDUs used by Serbian police special units, and reported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), can be trusted. Body armor and assault vests with the word “Policija” are also worn.