Arkan’s Tigers (or Serbian Volunteer Guard)
ALTERNATE NAME: Serbian Volunteer Guard
LEADER: Zeljko Raznatovic (Arkan)
YEAR ESTABLISHED OR BECAME ACTIVE: 1990
USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: Former Yugoslavia
The Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG/SSJ) was a semiofficial militia active in the Yugoslavian Civil War. Led by Zeljko Raznatovic (better known as Arkan), the group was accused of a number of incidents of ethnic cleansing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was later implicated in the Kosovan war. The SDG has also been implicated in extortion, gun-running, political executions, and smuggling.
Besides the Holocaust against Europe’s Jewish population, of all the regions involved in World War II, the people of Yugoslavia were struck most brutally by ethnic conflict and civil war. More than one million Yugoslavs died in the war, mostly at the hands of other Yugoslavs.
Following Axis occupation in 1941, the Nazis installed Croatian fascists, called the Ustasha, to control their own state, and later Bosnia. With a force that left even some Nazis shocked, the Ustasha carried out a program of genocide and forced religious conversion against Croatia and Bosnia’s Serb population. The Serbs responded with the creation of a force known as the Chetniks—a loose alliance of Serb nationalists and royalists—seeking the creation of a Greater Serbia. Like the Ustasha, they waged a brutal genocidal campaign, but largely against Bosnia’s Croat and Muslim populations, who they viewed as Ustasha collaborators. A third force, the communist Partisans, led by Josip Broz (better known as Tito), was predominantly Serb, but included a large number of Muslims, Croats, and Slovenians (Tito was half Croat, half Slovenian). The Partisans fought a two-fronted campaign against the Axis forces and the Chetniks, both of which they eventually crushed.
ZELJKO RAŽNATOVIC (ARKAN)
Zeljko Ražnatovic was born into a Yugoslav military family—his father was a senior air officer in the air force—in Slovenia, in 1952. A teenage delinquent, his father got him involved with the Yugoslavian internal security service, the Ubda, with whom he retained a connection while embarking on a lucrative criminal career in exile. Across northern Europe in the latter 1970s, Ražnatovic was involved in a series of bank robberies and in other violent crimes, linked to Yugoslav crime families in Frankfurt, Norway, and the Benelux countries. It was during this period that he picked up the nom de guerre, Arkan. He was caught often, but had a remarkable habit of escaping jail—in the Netherlands and Germany—and evading arrest—in Sweden and Italy. This is often attributed to his involvement with Ubda. In return, he is believed to have carried out a number of assassinations for Tito. …
HERE BELOW IS A BRIEF INSIGHT INTO AN EXHIBITION AND VARIOUS WORN MILITARY UNIFORM ITEMS AND INSIGNIA ON DISPLAY HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL .
Ražnatović was assassinated, on Saturday, 15 January 2000, 17:05 GMT, in the lobby of Belgrade’s elite InterContinental Hotel, a location where he was surrounded by other hotel guests. The killer, Dobrosav Gavrić, was a 23-year-old police mobile brigade’s junior member. Gavrić had ties to the underworld and was on sick leave at the time. He walked up alone towards his target from behind. Ražnatović was sitting and chatting with two friends and, according to BBC Radio, was filling out a betting slip. Gavrić waited for a few minutes, calmly walked up behind the party, and rapidly fired a succession of bullets from his CZ-99 pistol. Ražnatović was shot in his left eye and lapsed into a coma on the spot. His bodyguard Zvonko Mateović put him into a car, and rushed him to a hospital, but he died on the way.
According to his widow, Svetlana, Ražnatović died in her arms as they were driving to the hospital. His companions Milenko Mandić, a business manager, and Dragan Garić, a police inspector, were also shot to death by Gavrić. Gavrić was shot and wounded immediately after by Mateović and fell unconscious. A female bystander was seriously wounded in the shootout as well. After complicated surgery, Gavrić survived, but remained disabled and confined to a wheelchair as the result of a spinal wound.
Commemoration ceremony in Ražnatović’s honour was held at Dom sindikata on 19 January 2000 with writer Brana Crnčević, Yugoslav Left (JUL) official Aleksandar Vulin, media tycoon Željko Mitrović, singers Oliver Mandić, Toni Montano and Zoran Kalezić, along with the entire first team of FK Obilić with club director Dragoslav Šekularac in attendance.