Scandal: who were snipers shooting on Sarajevo?
Investigation about the Seve case is entering its final phase. These days the Hague investigators are looking for Slobodanka and Slobodan Sakotic, the brother and sister who as members of Seve shot from sniper rifles at Sarajevo and the surrounding area following the orders of their bosses
Hague Investigators Collected Evidence That Indicates That Bosniak Authorities Murdered Their Own Citizens!
Slobodna Bosna's sources indicate that brother and sister Sakotic spent the last two years in isolation - their home arrest started after the former AID worker Edin Garaplija revealed information about Seve - They obviously left Bosnia-Hercegovina just before the new trial of Edin Garaplja - Wartime biography of brother and sister Sakotic is now an object of investigation of the Hague Tribunal
by SB investigative team
Slobodna Bosna, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, October 27, 2000
In a display of honesty seldom seen in these parts, Nijaz Durakovic explained that he had prepared all the documentation in connection with the case Alibabic-Alispahic, photocopied and hid it in Vienna. "I also informed the Presidency about that. I wanted to make sure that I won't be hit by a 'Chetnik sniper'," said Durakovic. An unpleasant experience Prof. Durakovic had with "Chetnik snipers" while driving over the bridge in the direction of the bar "Dva Ribara" was definitely enough for caution. Several months earlier a sniper bullet flew though the window of the room in the State Hospital in which at the time gravely wounded deputy Prime Minister of the government of Bosnia-Hercegovina, and today the leader of the SDP, Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, was recovering. That happened on the day when, after being tied to the bed for several days, Lagumdzija tried to get up and walk. Experts confirmed that the bullet could not have come from the Jewish cemetery, or any Serb sniping positions.
The fact that these days the Hague investigators are focusing the investigation in the case "Seve" on Slobodanka Sakotic and her brother Slobodan, indicates that Durakovic's caution was justified. The two Sakotics were before the war distinguished sharpshooters, and in "Seve" they were among the chief killers. They used sniper rifles for the executions. The wartime biography of brother and sister Sakotic became the object of investigation by the Hague Tribunal. The investigation indicates that the Sakotics were members of the group "Seve" and were ordered to shoot from sniper rifles at civilians and carry out executions in Sarajevo and around the city. For a while the unit "Seve" was based in the base of the Special Police Unit. Asim Dautbasic was in charge of coordinating its activities during the time the unit was based in the special forces base.
When Nedzad Herenda's testimony given to the Hague investigators was compared with the complaints of the Serb side about "internal sniping" in Sarajevo and the list of the members of "Seve", the investigation focused on the two Sakotics.
How was Zajko Killed?
"Seve" were founded by Alija Delimustafic in May 1992. From the start the unit was led and commanded by Nedzad Ugljen, while its "services" were used by Asim Dautbasic, Jozo Jozic, Bakir Alispahic, and Enver Mujezinovic, and Fikret Muslimovic and Jusuf Jasarevic from the Army leadership. "Seve' acted with knowledge of the president of the presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Alija Izetbegovic. As Enver Mujezinovic arrived in Sarajevo from the headquarters of the former Yugoslav Counter Intelligence Service (KOS) in Belgrade in May 1992, it is very possible that the idea about this type of group actually came from him. "Seve" were a sniper-terrorist group, made up from former KOS members, special forces members from Nis, as was the case with the Bozic brothers, or recruited criminals, among whom was also Nedzad Herenda. The group was formed based on the classic KOS matrix, and time will show that its members and superiors were present on the spot of all crimes that took place in the territory under control of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Precisely KOS had a custom of forming special units from members of "minority" nations who as minorities, through psychological identity crisis, had an exaggerated need to prove their loyalty. Based on that principle, former KOS officers in the Army of the Republic of Srpska (RS) formed the tenth commando unit that was in charge of the personal safety of General Ratko Mladic. Members of this unit, besides Serbs, included Croats and Bosniaks and children from "mixed marriages". Trying to prove their loyalty they were much more obedient and devoted fighters. The identical principle was used in Sarajevo. "Seve" were created as a part of a wider project that has a political, practical and legal segment. The political segment was expressed through the idea of creation of a small Muslim state on a part of Bosnian territory and perfectly corresponded to the goals of the KOS and SIS [Croat secret service]. The unit was trained in the camps run by the SIS in Metkovic and in the Mujahedeen camp in Pogorelica. Its services were at the same time used by people who were either maintaining links with the KOS (Mujezinovic, Muslimovic), SIS (Ugljen, Jozic), or people who advocated and worked on the formation of the MOS, the Muslim Intelligence Service (Alispahic, Ugljen). The practical segment implied activities against the "internal enemy", therefore individuals who were viewed as an obstacle for the creation of "an authoritarian, isolated statelet that would be ruled by several powerful clans or families and in which crime and corruption would flourish," as at the time former AID agent Edin Garaplija described political visions of Nedzad Ugljen. Although formed in 1992 the terrorist group "Seve" was busiest during the crucial 1993 when the Bosniak political leadership planned to proclaim the creation of a Muslim state. Some of the "targets of attacks" were removed as opponents, and others because they were unpleasant witnesses of projects in whose realization they were unknowingly included. Among other, the individuals who were viewed as obstacles to the project include Ibrahim Puric, the founder of the resistance movement in Zenica whose assassins (sharpshooters) gave up their assassination attempt, and Safet Zajko, since the Hague investigators among other are also investigating the murder of this famous commander who was hit by a sniper bullet. Namely, the investigators are treating Zajko's death as murder, rather than a death in combat.
Ibrahim Puric's Testimony
Ibrahim Puric, a former commander of the Patriotic League in Zenica, claims that he found out about "his assassination", which was supposed to take place in 1993, in 1995. "After two years the sniper who was supposed to kill me came to see me and gave me a statement that he would, if necessary, repeat in a trial, and the bullet with which he was supposed to kill me. He told me: 'This is the bullet with which I was supposed to kill you'. The order came from the then commander of the Third Corps Enver Hadzihasanovic. Some politicians also participated in the decision about the assassination. Later I found out that there were certain disagreements between them. The goal of the assassination was to remove the commanders who fought for the liberation of occupied territories," says Puric. He further explains that the people who were supposed to carry out orders were told to capture him and to kill him in case he resisted arrest. "Of course they knew that I would not voluntarily go with them, nor would my bodyguards allow them to arrest me so that murder was the expected outcome of the action," he says. Slobodanka Sakotic arrived in Zenica in the spring of 1993. She had left Sarajevo together with General Enver Hadzihasanovic. By the way, she was a close friend of the general. Late April and early May 1993 were set aside for the formation of the joint command of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the HVO with headquarters in Zenica. Someone (Hadzihasanovic or Vehbija Karic, who was in charge of finding accommodation for the people from the planned joint command of Army of BH and the HVO) arranged that Sakotic stay in the building of the National Theater, where senior army officials from Sarajevo were also staying. Based on whose order, why and how, a "Seve" sharpshooter, Slobodanka Sakotic, was found accommodation in the temporary Army Staff headquarters can only be explained by Hadzihasanovic, Karic, or herself. We have obtained from several sources the explanation that she left Sarajevo as a member of the shooting team that was supposed to compete in the Mediterranean Games in the French town of Montpellier. "Slobodanka was a member of the special Police unit, but she practiced in Zenica and was getting ready for the Mediterranean games," says Colonel Vehbija Karic. In late April several members of the Bosnian national shooting team left Sarajevo and came to Zenica. They went to Mediterranean Games in Montpellier, but their departure to the competition was prevented by the clashes with the HVO that had culminated those days in central Bosnia. However, "Slobodanka was not a member of the team. She was perhaps supposed to participate in some other competitions," says one of the members of the Bosnian national team that was supposed to compete in the Mediterranean Games.
When we reminded Colonel Vehbija Karic that he had been seen at that time in Zenica with Ms. Sakotic, he explained: "If someone saw me, than that could have only taken place in April 1993, when I was sitting with Slobodanka in Zenica in Hotel Metalurg. We set with people from East Bosnia. That was the first time Sefer came to Zenica". Participants in that meeting claim that exactly Colonel Karic introduced Ms. Sakotic to this company sitting in "Metalurg" that was later, based on the wishes of the host, moved to a private home in Zenica. True, none of the participants in the meeting could remember what was Ms. Sakotic's function at a meeting that discussed the situation in East Bosnia. When we asked General Halilovic whether he remembered Ms. Sakotic from his visit to Zenica, he responded: "I remember her because of one very simple reason. It was about 1am, someone knocked on the door, very quietly. I decided that the person knocking on the door was doing that to make sure that people from the neighboring rooms could not hear him. When I opened the door, Ms. Sakotic was standing there. She said that she knew that I was a smoker and had come to ask for a cigarette. I probably raised my voice when I said that it was impolite to knock on someone's door so late at night, as people from nearby rooms started opening doors and turning lights on... I never saw her again in Zenica," says Halilovic. "I met her in the street in Sarajevo in 1996, when she told me that it's too bad she and I had missed such a good chance. Of course, to this day I haven't figured out what that was supposed to mean."
From Any Point of View
After the missed chance to kill Halilovic in Zenica in 1993, his case was set aside for later. In June 1993, in Sarajevo the action named "Seva" was carried out in Sarajevo. The action was essentially a showdown with Musan Topalovic, Ramiz Delalic, Ismet Bajramovic and Halilovic. Halilovic was supposed to be "removed" by a planted bomb, while initially the plan was to deal with the "rebellious units" outside Sarajevo. The organizers were waiting for a suitable moment to pull these units out of Sarajevo. On July 7, 1993 (the same day Izetbegovic wrote to Owen, worried about increasingly powerful and loud elements in the public opinion) out of "Seve" members, usually 15 to 20 of them, because of the secret character of the action, the assassination attempt on the Chief of Staff of the Army of BH, only three were chosen this time. Dragan Bozic, Nedzad Herenda, and Makedonac [Macedonian] (an expert for explosives) planted under the balcony of General Halilovic's apartment a bomb that was supposed to be remotely activated "after a sighting of the target". The leader of this group was Nedzad Ugljen, while the action was planned and approved by Bakir Alispahic, Enver Mujezinovic, and Nedzad Ugljen, and in front of the Army of BH, Fikret Muslimovic and Jusuf Jasarevic. A former ADI agent Edit Garaplija says: "'Seve' conducted systematic surveillance of the target, in this case General Halilovic, and his telephone conversations. They had prepared several versions of the assassination and in the end they picked this one... However, lucky chance and Halilovic's delay in going home, saved his life." Within the same action Ismet Bajramovic was hit by a sniper bullet in Sarajevo on September 26, 1993. "I was wounded while I was sitting with my friends in a house courtyard in Ciglane district. No one heard the shot and the bullet hit me below the armpit, in the direction of the heart... I've heard about the story that Nedzad Herenda shot at me. Of course, I've thought about that. Herenda came in mid 1994 to Germany to ask for my assistance in acquiring a jeep for the special Police unit. I had received information about his as the assassin from various sides and from the most senior posts in our government. Perhaps because of such people, I keep my conclusion about Herenda for myself. If I link those for whom Herenda worked and those who secretly ratted on him, I can make my own conclusions," Bajramovic said in august 1997, a day before Edin Garaplija identified Herenda as the assassin. The showdown with the members of the Ninth and Tenth Mountain Brigades also started with sniping. This showdown was staged by Bakir Alispahic and Nedzad Ugljen on the one side, and Jusuf Jasarevic, Fikret Muslimovic, and Enver Mujezinovic on the other. "They set up pairs, two 'Seve' sharpshooters in each, who were supposed to provoke clashes. At first they shot at the members of Caco's brigade, and then on the members of the joint forces of the Police and the Army. I remember the murder of two guards in front of Caco's headquarters, who were immediately hit by 'Seve' snipers," said the former AID agent Edin Garaplija, describing the events that took place on October 26, 1993. Bakir Izetbegovic (for no particular reason as he was not even mentioned in the article) reacted to this statement, published two years ago in Slobodna Bosna. "You claim that I supported Nedzad Herenda who, according to your claims, shot at the same time at Caco's soldiers and at the military police in order to provoke chaos in the surrounded Sarajevo, and all of that with the knowledge and support of the state leadership!?!" says among other Bakir Izetbegovic in his reaction. However, documented communication recordings indicate that, after at the start of the October action "Seve" snipers killed two of his guards, Caco demanded to be allowed to talk with the President and tell him that someone was needlessly shooting at his troops. This was a signal for the head of the Military Security Department, Jusuf Jasarevic, to send a team of Military Policemen to attack Caco's unit. In that attack, "Seve" again shot also at the Military Police. The result of the action: more than 500 arrested and unknown number of casualties. None of the arrested individuals was tried for the crimes in Grabovica while those responsible for the crimes in Kazani were sentenced to symbolical prison sentences, all of which indicates that they were not arrested because of Kazani or Grabovica.
Slobodanka Does Not Live Here Anymore
"Slobodan and Slobodanka do not live in Sarajevo anymore. They got disappointed a lot and left," was the response we got in the Sakotics' residence a few days ago, confirming the information that the brother and sister Sakotic have recently left the city. It seems they left for good, if it is true that their new address is somewhere in Australia. "They do not practice that sport anymore. They do not want to talk about that," we've been told in the Sakotics' residence. Slobodanka Sakotic was a member of the youth national team of Bosnia-Hercegovina that in 1992 won the title of the champion of Yugoslavia. She was a talented sharpshooter, whose specialty was shooting from a handgun. Her brother Slobodan was also a sharpshooter, but his sport achievements were far below those of his sister. The brother and sister Sakotic were early in the war mobilized in the special Police unit and together with other mobilized sharpshooters sent to a sniper training in the sports center Zetra in Sarajevo. They were trained by the coach Zdravko Milutinovic, a former member of the Yugoslav national shooting team who would later be transferred to the counter-sabotage department of the state Police (Milutinovic was a member of the team that after the planting of a bomb under the balcony of General Halilovic's apartment wrote a fake report that claimed that the explosion was a result of a grenade fired from the Serb positions). "I never shoot at civilians, only at persons in uniform," Slobodanka Sakotic used to say to her friends during the war when they inquired about her activities. She said the same when as a distinguished fighter she appeared in 1992 on the state TV. During 1992 she held the front in Stup as a sniper. Later she was transferred to the city, on the positions towards Grbavica. She was wounded in the war. Slobodanka, a former champion sharpshooter, after the war did not enter even the wider selection for the national team. She stopped her involvement in sport. Representatives of the Republic of Srpska who collaborate with the Hague Tribunal are trying to prove that "Seve" were used for "internal sniping at targets in Sarajevo" (they claim that 120 individuals were killed in that manner), buy which, of course, they are trying to remove some of their guilt for the siege of Sarajevo. "However, it is difficult to prove that," they explain, "but we will try to provide indirect evidence, using the testimony of individuals who saw Slobodanka Sakotic at certain time and certain place, when deaths from sniping occurred". Our sources say that the brother and sister spent the last two years in isolation, without contacts with anyone and "covered" by AID agents. Their house arrest started after the former AID agent Edin Garaplija revealed the story about "Seve". Obviously they left the country just before the start of the new trial of Edin Garaplija. According to one version they are still in Sarajevo, hiding under fake identities... But that would be too much for an already murky wartime spy story.
Translated on May 4, 2001