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Serbian schools receive over 100 bomb threats after deadly shooting

School children mourn the victims of a school shooting rampage that sent shock waves through the nation and triggered moves to boost gun control. 4 May 2023
School children mourn the victims of a school shooting rampage that sent shock waves through the nation and triggered moves to boost gun control. 4 May 2023 Copyright Armin Durgut/Armin Durgut
Copyright Armin Durgut/Armin Durgut
By Una Hajdari
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Following a devastating school shooting, Serbia's Interior Ministry confirmed bomb threats were made against elementary and high schools across the country.

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The Serbian capital was inundated with reports of explosive devices planted in schools on Wednesday morning. 

The Ministry of Education confirmed that 78 primary and 37 secondary schools in Belgrade were sent e-mails about pending bomb attacks, only two weeks after a deadly shooting rocked the country.

Police dispatched teams on the ground to investigate the threats, while students and employees were evacuated.

"In order to ensure the safety of students and employees, classes in the first shift have been interrupted until the police complete their inspections of the scene," the Ministry of Education said in a statement.

"Some schools have already been inspected and classes are taking place in them without problems." 

There have been no reports that bombs were found in any of the schools, and police have yet to issue their report.

The first school shooting in Serbia's modern history took place two weeks ago when a 13-year-old took his father's guns and killed eight classmates and a guard. 

A girl who was injured in the incident died on Monday after multiple attempts were made to save her life, bringing the number of casualties to 10.

Crackdown on gun possession

A day after the school shooting, a 21-year-old man carried out a drive-by shooting in Mladenovac that killed eight people, including an off-duty police officer, and injured another 14.

Mladenovac is found in central Serbia, about 100 kilometres south of Belgrade.

The shocking incidents have launched a nationwide debate about the culture of violence that is present in Serbian society following the bloody Yugoslav disintegration wars during the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Some have demanded harsher controls on violent content on TV and in national newspapers.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić announced an anti-gun crackdown and citizens have handed over around 15,000 unregistered weapons as part of a month-long amnesty period where no one will be charged for illegal gun possession

Authorities have told citizens to give up unregistered weapons by 8 June or face prison sentences. 

Other anti-gun measures include a ban on new gun licenses, stricter controls on gun owners and shooting ranges, and tougher punishments for the illegal possession of weapons.

The president also announced that around 156 psychologists and psychiatrists will be assigned schools across the country to help them "overcome any problems they might face after the terrible massacre we experienced."

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