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Arkan Tigers - Serbian Volunteer Guard

Arkan Tigers - Serbian Volunteer Guard


The Serb Volunteer Guard or “Arkan’s Tigers” were a Serbian paramilitary formation that fought during the Yugoslavian civil war. The unit was formed from the core of the FC Red Star supporters from Belgrade, at the Pokajnica Monastery on October 11, 1990. It was set up by Željko Ražnatović Arkan and others, including Nebojša Ðorđević, Saša Pavlović, Nenad Marković and Dragan Petrović.


The links of Željko Ražnatović Arkan, commander of the Serb Volunteer Guard, with state security services date back to the time of Stane Dolanc, Federal Secretary for Internal Affairs in the 1980s, who introduced the practice of recruitment of persons convicted for serious crimes for the needs of the Service. In late 1980s, Arkan was given a task by the State Security Service to put under control a group of supporters of the Red Star (Crvena zvezda) football club. In this way, he formed a supporters’ group of “Delije” which is still active in Serbia. He thus deserved a seat in the management of the Red Star football club, whose other member was Radmilo Bogdanović, at that time Minister of the Interior of Serbia.


The SDG appeared for the first time in Slavonia in June 1991, specifically in Tenja near Osijek, Croatia. In Erdut, a village in Croatia on the border with Serbia, they set up their headquarters. SDG co-operated closely with Andrija Biorčević, who was the commander of the JNA Novi Sad Corps. After the fall of Vukovar in November 1991, the SDG officially became part of the Territorial Defence of the newly established Serbian Autonomous Region (SAO) of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and West Srem, while Željko Ražnatović was designated an advisor for the national security of Goran Hadžić, President of the SAO Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and West Srem. The SDG membership never exceeded 300 persons.


After the war in the Slavonia battlefield, the SDG transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it operated on the territories of Zvornik, Bijeljina, and Brčko in the autumn of 1992.


After the war ended in 1995, the Serb Volunteer Guard was disbanded. Ražnatović became more politically active since he founded the Party of Serbian Unity as early as 1993. Also, he started numerous businesses in Serbia and bought a football club, “Obilić”.


After the disbanding of the SDG, part of the volunteers went over to the JSO Special Operations Unit (Red Berets).


Željko Ražnatović was killed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Belgrade on January 15. 2000. Direct executors are known, but neither the background of the murder nor who organized it and why have ever been clarified.