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article imageSerbian military call-up notices spark fear and anger

By Kev Hedges     Sep 23, 2011 in World
Fear and anger is spreading among young Serbian men as the Defence Ministry in Belgrade has begun issuing call-up papers telling people to join the military reserves and report for basic training.
It is not clear how many have so far been served papers but the Belgrade Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said an "undetermined number of men" had been given notice to report for basic military training. Tensions in neighbouring Kosovo have been heating up recently although it's unclear at this stage if the tensions and the military call-ups are linked.
There have been several violent disputes over border crossings recently between Kosovo and Serbia and tensions have been running high, reports Radio Free Europe.
The Committee has already pleaded for Serbia and Kosovo to put aside its differences and aim toward the primary goal of joining the EU. Although this is unlikely while Serbia continues not to recognise Kosovo's independence. The committee also released a statement from one worried recipient of the notice telling him to join the military reserves and report for basic training. He chose to remain anonymous, but said:
These people who for all the years of my childhood and to the present day -- and I'm already a grown man; I'm 31 and planning a family -- have not provided the conditions for a decent life. And now they have the gall to ask that I join the reserves and serve in the event of war. And they threaten us with fines or with prison if we don't agree. I don't know what is greater -- my fear or my anger.
The Defence Ministry says the notices do not ruminate any new policies and are part of the military's normal planning and preparedness.
Earlier this year conscription to the Serbian army ended, but the law still allows the military to call-up anyone up to the age of 60 to undergo basic training with the military reserve.
More about Serbia, basic military training, Yugoslavia, Kosovo
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