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October 20, 1996
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 263
The Death of Arkan's Colonel

A Silent Fan

by Milos Vasic

An unidentified attacker (or attackers) gunned down Nebojsa Djordjevic Suca (28) with automatic weapon fire in his Vukovar-registered car at 4:15 a.m. on Saturday, October 12. An unspecified weapon and 15 shell cases were found nearby. Allegedly, it was a weapon with a silencer but that isn’t certain because the police released no details and the neighbors heard gunshots.

What we do know leads to the conclusion that this is one of a number of unresolved killings in Belgrade over the past few years since the murder of Branislav Matic Beli in August 1991. The scenario is always the same: a well prepared ambush; shots fired when the victim is least able to react or escape (at the moment the he’s getting in or out of a car while the engine’s not running); the killer makes sure the target’s dead by emptying his clip at close range before fleeing the scene safely. That kind of operation demands long-term intelligence and tactical preparation (familiarity with the target’s habits; knowledge of the site; carefully prepared attacks) expensive logistics (vehicles and weapons that will be discarded and have no record, communication equipment) and above all well trained, capable and cold blooded killers. All of those are expensive and the average criminal on the street can’t afford the expense behind that complex attack.

The killings have another thing in common besides being expensive, complex and unresolved; all of the victims had influence and positions in the criminal-police-intelligence "patriotic" world. Ordinary killings of mere mortals don’t require all those resources here: ordinary people kill each other in anger and those murders are resolved quickly. The systematic failure of the police to resolve these typical and specific killings, with the number of possible suspects growing smaller all the time, are drawing increasing doubts and concern from the public.

The late Nebojsa Djordjevic Suca was a prominent figure in the Red Star fan club (Delije). When Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan took over the Delije from Vojislav Seselj’s Chetnik movement in 1990 with the help of (then-Serbian police minister) Radmilo Bogdanovic, Suca joined Arkan and became a prominent Delije leader. When Arkan formed the Serb Volunteer Guard, Suca joined it, took part in operations and was wounded. He moved from the suburb of Resnik to a house he bought in Zemun. The 28-year-old retired Guard colonel allegedly went into business and humanitarian work: he was known and liked in certain circles and his neighbors say he had nothing to do with crime although the police have a record of him. He changed cars often, bought everyone drinks and was a popular figure. He also became chairman of the Zmaj soccer club in Zemun which hasn’t lost a game since he took over. Politika was full of death notices as usual in cases like this but they did not include the customary paid notices by the Guard and its commander Arkan. Sources close to the Guard said Arkan decided not to place any more death notices so he wouldn’t be identified with organized crime in Belgrade as is the habit.

The police is conducting an investigation; the weapon they found could provide a lead since it’s a weapon banned from civilians and difficult to acquire with records from the moment it’s made. The weapons used for this type of killing is customarily dumped in a river or the user gets rid of it in some other way. Suca’s short but interesting biography could also provide leads.

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