Special Anti-terrorist Unit of Republic of Srpska (SAU)

A well organized and equipped anti-terrorist unit of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska. A significant combat experience and proven patriotism of the operators are a foundation of trust of the citizens of the Republic of Srpska, as well of political establishment.


Unit`s insignia

By disintegration of the SFRY[1] many special units of republics secretariats for internal affairs served as basics for foundation of the police and military units of newly established states. Special Police of the former Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska was established on April 4 1992 when a group around 30 officers in strength of Serbian nationality separated from the special unit of the Republic Secretariat of Internal Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

By the escalation of conflicts on the B&H territory strength of the unit has been increased and in the upcoming period the unit will gather nine special police squads, organized as a Special Police Brigade, and deployed through the Republic Srpska`s territory: Pale, Shekovici, Trebinje, Bijeljina, Doboj, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Ilidza and Focha. The first commander of the Special Police Brigade was Milenko Karishkik.

We have no
right for a mistake!
Karishik`s duties took General Goran Saric, who carried out commanding duties during the armed conflict on the B&H territory. In this period then Special Police Brigade increased its strength to around 1700 operators. The organization of the Special Police Brigade of the Republic of Srpska, besides special squads, included the command of the unit, training group enlisting the most experienced operators with instructor ranks, communication department, as well as a logistics platoon. Every of squads was around 200 operators in strength. To be able to independently operate on field, every squad had its own command, subordinated to the main command, while the operational part of every squad compiled 3 special infantry platoons each, armor-mechanized platoon, mortar platoon, logistics platoon and a communication group. In combats on the Majevica mountain during 1995 operators of the special squads stood out especially, so the unit was decorated with the highest Medal of Nemanjici for Effort and Merits, and a number of operators with the Medal of Milos Obilic, Medal of Milan Tepic and other decorations.

The end of the armed conflicts brought changes to the name and organization of the Special Police Brigade which changes its name to Police Brigade for Anti-terrorist Actions, and its organization adapts[2] to the new needs.

Most of the special squads were either disbanded or reorganized into specialized teams, settled on three locations on the territory of the Republic of Srpska, so during 2004 the unit was given a name Special Police Unit-SPU of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska. By the end of 2005 the unit is organized in the central base Sarica, in Trina district, on the periphery of Banja Luka city. Since November 2006 duties of commander carried out Predrag Krajinovc, who on January 2015 was replaced by Dragan Ribic[3]. Amid 2016, declaring the new Law of Police and Internal Affairs (Official Courier of the RS, No. 57/16), the unit changes its name and continues to carry out given tasks and jobs as Special Anti-terrorist Unit-SAU.

Today Special Anti-terrorist Unit is the main organizational unit of the Ministry of Interior of the R. Srpska, capable and intended for conducting the most complex jobs and tasks within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior of R. Srpska, especially for counter terrorism on tactical and operational level independently or in coordination with other organizational units of the MoI of the Republic of Srpska. By the issue of Police Director, and with the approval of the minister (or their deputies), SAU in accordance with the law conducts:

-interventions of locating and neutralizing terrorist groups, as well as destroying terrorist networks
-negotiations with members of organized criminal groups on the field
-assistances in order to establish public order and peace during the high-risk situations
-jobs and tasks of close protection of high state officials and infrastructure of special importance
-professional assistance to the other organizational units of Srpska`s MoI[4]


Assault rifle Zastava M70 AB2 modified for the needs of CQB

Special Anti-terrorist Unit is organized on the models of European elite anti-terrorist units. Less operators in formation and rationalized structure enable organization and application of a quality plan and program of training, which is one of the primary terms for operativity of a high level, expected for a unit of this purpose. According the ongoing systematization the ranks have been increased in the operational element of the unit, which affected some changes in the organization of the Special Anti-terrorist Unit The SAU`s Command coordinates the works of teams and groups, undergoes data collecting, conducts necessary preparations for execution of intended tasks and jobs, brings a decision about purchases of needed gear and the like.

Previously established Special Preparation and Analytics Group has increased its strength and now operates as a Special Preparation Team that executes orders of the commander, defines plan and program of training and organizes protection of the vital infrastructure on the Republic Srpska`s territory.

Also, previously defined Training Team now has merged with the newly created Special Preparation Team with the same type of activities, so it participates in defining the plan and program of training, directly organizes and conducts selection training of the candidates, as well as basic and specialist training of the unit`s operators. Monitors and evaluates work and progress of every candidate, as well as operator of the unit, deeming the opinions and suggestions of the operational groups and teams leaders. The team also gives opinions and propositions about purchase of specialized gear and weaponry. Training Team is consisted as a rule of the most experienced operators of the unit, with instructors` ranks, as well specialist ones from certain areas which are studied and practiced through the defined plan and program of training.

For the execution of intended jobs and tasks activated are operators of five operational teams, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta, as well as Specialized Team and Support Team. Teams compile several groups each. Every team and group is managed by the leader of a team or a group. The most elite is considered Alpha Team, which gathers the most experienced SAU operators, who, as a rule, successfully completed advanced anti-terrorist training, and specialist courses as well. The Alpha Team is, as a rule, activated for the execution of the most complex given jobs and tasks. Teams are able to conduct given jobs and tasks independently or jointly. Operational teams during interventions can be assisted by the specialists of the SAU`s Specialized Team, within which are organized K9 Handlers Group[5], sniping, parachuting, diving groups, as well as the Group for handling ED[6] and explosives. For providing support to the intervention forces, by using specialized vehicles and firearms of greater firepower, specialized are operators of the Supporting Team. Logistics Group covers every-day needs of the unit, and participates in constructing the plans of purchases needed resources for work.


The organization of openings for a workplace in the Special Anti-terrorist Unit of the Republic of Srpska primarily depends on the number of workplaces[7] available within the unit, as well of the evaluation of circumstances that are significant for the functioning of the unit, especially its operativity. The units of this purpose need candidates with above-average psychophysical abilities, therefore the main goal of the selection training is to select the very best of candidates who are supposed to become highly trained operators of the SAU through continuous training, capable to execute all intended tasks. The flow of the selection training is arranged on the models of similar units in the region and Europe.

For a selection training in the Special Anti-terrorist Unit called could have been active officers of the MoI of the Republic of Srpska, but willing citizens as well. All candidates submit needed files when applying, such as certificate of citizenships, confirmation that they are not being prosecuted or convicted and the like. Candidates who did not submit all needed files, or not on time, are not being called for a selection, that is divided into several elimination phases. The first one is a pre-selection and includes detail security checks, as well psychophysical checks of every called candidates. The first connection with candidates, as a rule, establish instructors who clearly tell them to expect long and very intensive checks.

The way how instructors treat candidates does not have the goal to hurt their dignity, but to test their desire to become a part of the elite SAU. Those lacking in motivation strength quickly realize they do not belong to a unit of this type.
For the beginning phase specific is a test of trust and courage, as well as check of precision shooting of every candidate, and mandatory is a medical check after which is being evaluated if a candidate can be admitted for further and more intensive phases of the selection. After the completion of the first phase comes a classical drill lasting for several days. In this period candidates are put under heavy psychophysical effort and checks including various tactical tasks, simple mathematical situations, trick questions and similar. All this with minimal rest[8], which significantly lowers and weakens psychophysical reactions of the candidate. Reactions in stressful situations, individual skills and knowledge, but a sense for teamwork and one`s effort, are carefully being monitored all the time. If a candidate met the standards, which primarily evaluate instructors who carried out the selection, after the drill candidate receives an issue of temporary employment in the SAU and continues with the basic training[9] through which will be evaluated in all segments of training, by which a new ranking will be done, or elimination of the candidates who do not meet the criteria of the SAU. In this phase physical readiness of the candidates is increased, martial arts are being practiced, and they also undergo intensive training in handling radio devices, overcoming infantry obstacles, intensive shooting courses are being organized, topography, first aid and the like. Candidates learn and practice usage of the specialized gear and weaponry held in the SAU. Within theoretical lectures laws are being studied, especially official authority and terms of their use. The basic training lasts for about 17 weeks, and candidates who successfully meet the SAU standards are enrolled in some of the SAU`s operational teams. By completing the third elimination phase and enrollment to the unit, operators continue to develop special physical readiness, study tactics of special actions, especially segments of anti-terrorist training, and later on they undergo various specialist courses and seminars.

The training lasts whenever an operator is active in the unit and is organized on the combat experiences and programs of the elite foreign units. Includes knowledge and skills that should enable execution of complex tasks in all weather and terrain circumstances. Specialist training includes survival training in nature, courses of skiing, scouting and reconnaissance, speed drive course, close protection of VIPs, training in handling explosives and explosive devices, basic and advanced courses of precision shooting, as well diving courses, alpinism and parachuting training.


Command of the Special Anti-terrorist Unit, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska, purchases specialized gear for which evaluates it is needed for effective conduction of intended jobs and tasks.

In the semi-auto handguns category unit possesses models CZ99 in 9 mm caliber, of the producer Zastava Arms from Kragujevac Serbia, which are mostly used for the needs of selection of candidates for a workplace in the SAU. Primary model used by the operators is Austrian Glock 17 Gen 3 in 9x19 mm Parabellum caliber. Austrian models were purchased for all operators of the unit. During interventions operators can mount on these models tactical lights Streamlight TLR1 that are locked on a rail under the barrel, on the lower side of the frame. Special Police Unit holds a number of Corner Shot Platforms compatible with handguns Glock 17 and enable shooter to observe and shoots round the corner, without facing the enemy fire. Special conversions, bright blue slide with a barrel and bolt are simply being mounted on the frames of Austrian models and are intended for training (in the area of close combat in urban surroundings) with training munition 9 mm FX Simunition, with bullet made of plastics or filled with color. It is a short-range[10] munition which quickly after firing slows down abruptly and does not ricochet when hitting a solid obstacle. The unit possesses a smaller contingent of compact models Glock 19 Gen 3 also in 9 mm caliber. In the same category preset are Czech CZ M85 in 9x19 mm Parabellum, and the unit possesses a number of revolvers being used for training of the operators. For the needs of lowered carry operators of the SAU use very good holsters BLACKHAWK! Serpa Tactical Level 3, as well as models from Safariland producer, or models from Mile Dragic, Serbian producer. All holsters are being purchased in black color and are compatible with Glock 17 handguns.

In the submachine category Special Anti-terrorist Unit possesses quality Czech Scorpion EVO 3 A1 in 9x19 mm Parabellum caliber. Mentioned models allow four regimes: semi-auto, 3-round bursts, auto and safe, and for the needs of the unit all Czech SMG were purchased with red dot sights Meopta ZD. Besides reflex sights of the Czech manufacturer, held are red dot sights DI Optical in models RV1 and RV2 as well. Police special forces of the city of Banja Luka also use reliable HK MP5 A5 with telescopic buttstock, suitable for mounting holographic sight EOTech 552, tactical light as well as a laser illuminator. For the needs of training in CQB accessories of bright blue color can be mounted on the barrels of these models allowing shooting mentioned training munition 9 mm FX Simunition. The unit holds a certain contingent of the suppressed HK MP5 SD3, also in 9x19 mm Parabellum. Models of this category are mostly chosen when conducting special actions in urban areas, especially in the case of breaching into buildings, when it is desirable to have a compact weapon of relatively low weight. For the needs of breaching into barricaded objects or buildings can be used hydraulic system Door Raider. Used are models Zastava M84A Scorpio in the specific caliber 7.65x17 mm which can be marked as personal defense weapon. Recently, the unit has purchased a contingent of quality SMGs Brügger & Thomet APC9 in 9 mm caliber.

In the assault rifles category mostly used are models based on the Kalashnikov system. The main assault rifle in use is Zastava M70 in AB2 models, chambered for 7.62x39 mm caliber. Mentioned systems are mounted with Picatinny rails carriers purchased from the UTG manufacturer, along with ergonomic grip pads. On upper carriers operators can fit non-magnifying red dot sights UTG Red Green Dot, as well as magnifying UTG Accushot 1-4,5x28 30mm CQB, recently being delivered to the unit. Pretty often operators mount angled foregrip from Magpul, from which purchased were telescopic buttstocks that operators also mount instead of standard ones from the Zastava Arms producer. Besides this, used are models AB1 as well of the same manufacturer with fixed wooden buttstock, in the same caliber. In 5.56 mm caliber purchased were systems Zastava M21 SBS.

For the needs of precision shooting operators use semi-automatic rifles Zastava M76 in 7.92x57 mm caliber, as well as Zastava M91 in 7.62x54R, both based on the Kalashnikov system. In this category stand out excellent rifles Steyr Tactical Elite with bolt-action system, in .308 Winchester caliber. Rifles are adapted to the needs of sniping by mounting optic sights from KAHLES company, on Milmont optics carriers. In the same caliber purchased were Steyr SSG 04 A1 rifles. For engaging long-distance targets, covered or light-armored vehicles and other tech, used are long-range rifles Zastava M93 Black Arrow in 12.7x108 mm caliber.

In the category of individual support weapons stand reliable light machine guns Zastava M84 in 7.62x54 R caliber.

Ballistic protection of the operators is achieved with ballistic vests Top Universal in black as well as in MultiCam pattern from the producer Mile Dragic. Head protection is achieved with helmets Mile Dragic M05 (models S and P), based on MICH design and with IIIA level of protection acc. NIJ STG 0106.01. Eye protection is achieved with quality tactical goggles Revision. Tactical gloves are being purchased from manufacturers Petzl Tactical and BLACKHAWK!, and often operators privately purchase gloves from various producers, according to own affinities. Za potrebe intervencija pripadnici SAJ nekoliko vrsta uniformi. Upotrebljavaju se kombinezoni u crnoj boji, kao i dvodelne taktičke uniforme "Dragon Tactical" proizvođača "Mile Dragić" iz Srbije. Taktičke uniforme rađene u maskirnoj šari "Multicam", zahvaljujući specifičnom dizajnu šare, mogu se valjano upotrebljavati pri izvođenju dejstava i u urbanom i u ruralnom okruženju. Od 2016. godine u upotrebu su uvedeni i taktički kombinezoni koje je proizvođač iz Banja Luke izradio u maskirnoj šari "Woodland". For the needs of actions, SAU operators use several uniform types. Black overalls are being used, along with two-pieced tactical uniforms Dragon Tactical from Mile Dragic Serbian manufacturer. Tactical uniforms made in Multicam camouflage pattern, thanks to a specific pattern design, are suitable to use when conducting actions both in urban and rural surroundings. During 2016 introduced were tactical overalls which a producer from the city of Banja Luke manufactured in Woodland camo pattern.

For the needs of transportation of gear and personnel used are vehicles Golf IV, Mercedes-Benz Vito vans and others. The unit holds three armored fighting vehicles BOV M86 in different configurations. For the quick response and arrival to the area of action, as well for actions by air used is police helicopter SA 341 Gazelle.


The first significant anti-terrorist training of the SAU operators was organized during 2000, with the assistance of instructors from France, within the IPTF mission on the B&H territory. On several occasions, operators of the SAU carried out joint training with colleagues from the Italian anti-terrorist unit GIS (Ita. Gruppo di Intervento Speciale), whom they practiced tactics or hostage crisis resolving, diving and climbing training as well. In the Police Training Center in Baton Rouge USA operators of the SAU participated courses of surveillance and scouting, close protection, anti-terrorist, as well as negotiations on the field. Advanced training in precision shooting partially was realized in cooperation with the instructors of the German GSG9 and French GIGN. Training in handling explosives was also partially carried out in Germany.

In the region, Special Anti-terrorist Unit-SAU established very good cooperation with the units from the Republic of Serbia, former Counter Terrorist Unit and active Special Anti-terrorist Unit of the MoI of the R. Serbia. With the operators of the Diving Unit of the Serbian Gendarmerie joint diving training was organized several times, including segments of anti-terrorist actions on water surface. Good professional relations are established with the anti-terrorist unit of the Slovenian Police[11]. SAU operators regularly participate regional security seminars of the elite units, organized by the French RAID.

[1] Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
[2] The most obvious organizational change related to a big reduction in the strength of the operational element of the unit.
[3] By the decision of Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Srpska, Dragan Lukach, who until 2004 carried out commanding duties at SAU.
[4] Mostly to the Criminalistics Police department, Public Security Centers, Support Unit of the Banja Luka city, as well as to the Intervention Unit of the Judiciary Police.
[5] K9 Handlers Group holds breeds German Shepherd, Labrador and Rottweiler.
[6] Abbreviation of the expression Explosive Devices.
[7] Judged on the adopted systematization.
[8] Physical health of every candidate is cared by a doctor who is present all the time during the drill. If evaluates, the doctor has the power to suggest the instructors to exclude the candidate from the selection.
[9] Regardless the preceding level of candidates` training, all who received the issue about temporarily employment undergo basic training, but carried out on the standards of the Special Anti-terrorist Unit.
[10] According the the claims of manufacturer in 9x19 mm caliber this munition meets tactical precision at distances up to 8 meters.
[11] Slov. Specialna enota policije.

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