In the morning he greeted the special forces of the federal police who have ensured their safety; in the afternoon he presented himself in front of the deputies who, from all sides, applauded him while Eliane Tillieux, president of the Assembly, showed him his support and assured him the solidarity of the House of Representatives. On Thursday 29 September Vincent Van Quickenborne, the Belgian Minister of Justice, appeared in public for the first time since the threat of kidnapping looming over him was made known. After the session, he went to a secure residence where he lived for several days with his wife and their two children aged 3 and 6. Authorities do not confirm the information, but he allegedly left this “safe haven” before the weekend, while remaining under the highest protection.
For the minister and the country’s judicial authorities, there is no doubt: the Dutch drug mafia is behind this kidnapping project. Four men are behind bars in the Netherlands and a court in Amsterdam will have to rule, within sixty days, on Belgium’s request for extradition.
Methods of narcoterrorism
On the evening of September 22, a police patrol checked a Dutch car in Kortrijk, the city where Mr. Van Quickenborne lives and of which he has been mayor since 2013. The police are not acting randomly: the security services have been alerted to a possible kidnapping. The three occupants of the vehicle are known to Dutch justice – one of them has already been convicted of attempted kidnapping – but not to the Belgian police, who let them go. Their identity has however been noticed and the next night they will be stopped in the Netherlands. In the meantime, the Belgian police have indeed found in a second car, hastily abandoned 100 meters from the minister’s house, in front of a garage door, heavy weapons, restraints and what, no doubt, to set fire to the car after the ‘removal. An accomplice of the trio will be arrested on 25 September, also in the Netherlands.
It was a phone call from Frédéric Van Leeuw, the federal prosecutor in charge of serious crime and terrorism, who alerted the Minister of Justice, who had returned from the United Nations General Assembly in New York that day. The high magistrate tells him “Very bad news”. “People don’t always take threats seriously, but in this case I had no problem convincing my interlocutor”, explained Mr. Van Leeuw.
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