Kosovo Crisis: Bomb threat dawns on ordinary Serbs

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The Independent Online
AFTER DISMISSING Nato threats as bluff, the reality of approaching war dawned on the Serbian population for the first time yesterday.

According to the main pro-government daily, Politika, a poll showed 91 per cent of those asked supported the government in its opposition to Nato deployment in Kosovo.

To boost morale, officials told the population that what the West wanted was to occupy the whole of Serbia. "The whole country is at stake," said the speaker of parliament, Dragan Tomic. "Kosovo is only the door through which Nato and the US are trying to enter to occupy our country."

However a leading human rights lawyer, Natasha Kandic, said young Serbs were avoiding call-up papers in huge numbers and that no more than 8 per cent of army reservists hadturned up.

"In October [when Nato last threatened air strikes] the main talk was about how to find a safe place and stockpile food," she said. But things were different now. "People are afraid, not of being exposed to bombing but of what is going to happen in the war," she added.