In the Spotlight

News & Features

Ozrenska Street

SOMEWHERE ON THE SLOPE below Ozrenska Street sits an abandoned bunker where Gaga saw his close wartime friend Dejan die from a sniper shot to the back. I was told that Gaga blamed himself for Dejan's death, because he neglected to close the curtain that shielded the bunker's door from the enemy's view.

It appears Ozrenska was Gaga's position when he decided to exact revenge as a freelance sniper. His comrades say Gaga was never an officially-deployed sniper. He used a powerful, old-model rifle he obtained himself and fitted with a scope.

Could Gaga have preyed on civilians in Sarajevo from his perch in Ozrenska?

I toured the former battle zone with Muhamed Gafic, a Muslim, and one of Gaga's many pre-war mountaineer friends. Gafic is deputy commander of the Bosnian police special forces, an expert on tactics such as sniping. He led me through former Serb trenches carved from the muddy hillside below Ozrenska. We stepped carefully; the place is strewn with land mines.

Wandering amidst the rubble, we found the area where Gaga was stationed. There is a direct sight line into a Sarajevo neighborhood where scores of civilians died from sniper fire.

A Bosnian Serb official I know--Gaga's former sister-in-law--gave me some photographs Gaga shot in Ozrenska. I searched through them for more clues to Gaga's state of mind.

There are grainy images taken through gun holes cut in cement walls. There is a shot of Dejan gripping his machine gun. There are shots of Dejan's funeral procession.

After Dejan's death, Gaga carried both the M-48 sniper's rifle and the AK-47 whenever he served on the front line. Gafic says he did not need the bolt-action sniper's gun for combat, the Kalasnikov worked far better.

Nor did he need its optical site--binoculars would suffice. Such a gun gives added power and prestige on the front line, said one Serbian fighter. It is also an extremely precise weapon.

Next: Reconstructing May 24, 1993

Images (top to bottom):
1. Ozrenska (Link: looking down on the city, jpeg 56k)

Photos taken by Gaga:
2. Gun position
3. Gaga's friend Dejan
4. Dejan's funeral procession (Link: casket and cross, jpeg 11k)

See also: Scenes from Osrenska

See also: Ozrenska video, a look at the front-line position where Gaga fought

Top of page
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12