Red Berets / Frenki's Boys / Grey Wolves (Yugoslavia)

Country: Yugoslavia
Details of Formation: The Red Berets were established by Serbia’s security service shortly before Croatia’s declaration of independence (BBC 2003). Another news source says the Red Beretes were created by people close to Milosevic.
Details of Termination: Because the Red Berets became increasingly uncontrollable they were formalized in 1996. They continued to exist as group called the Special Operations Unit (coded as separate PGM), but were popularly still called Red Berets.
Purpose: The main purpose of the Red Berets during Milosevic’s government was to fight Muslims and Croats from Bosnia and Croatia. They also should arm, train and co-ordinate various paramilitary groups (BBC 2003). Using them allowed Milosevic to engage in ‘ethnic cleansing’ without using the military. One news source says without the Red Berets, Serbian politicians would not have had the means to carry out their ethnic policies.
Organisation: The Red Berets’ leader was Dragan Vasilijkovic, alias Captain Dragan, a former Australian Army soldier. The group also had links to Milosevic, the head of state security during the Milosevic era, Jovice Stanisic (BBC 2003).
Weapons and Training: The Red Berets had rifles and knives. They possessed good weapons, a MiG 124 helicopter, Hummer vehicles and all sort of special ordnance.
Size: Initially set up as a 58-strong group in 1991, the group grew to 250 people during the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Reason for Membership: Some members were criminals who had previously served several prison sentences and were promised by the state security a pardon for their sins if they joined the fight for Serbia.
Treatment of Civilians: The Red Berets participated in Milosevic’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaigns in Bosnia and Croatia. In Bosnia they beat and killed civilians; there is no explicit evidence on whether they committed such violence on Yugoslav territory.
Other Information: Red Berets are also called Crveni Barek. While their main focus of operations was on Croatia and Bosnia, the group was also, especially later, active in Serbia and Kosovo.
References: British Broadcasting Corporation. 2003. “Serbia's 'elite' enemy within.“

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD