Memorial to victims of final Brabant Killers attack

Summary

A memorial to the victims killed and injured in the last attack carried out by the Brabant Killers in 1985 took place this morning in Aalst

‘So many questions’

A memorial for the victims of the last robbery carried out by the Bende van Nijvel, or the Brabant Killers, took place this morning in Aalst. The attack on customers and personnel of the Delhaize supermarket in the city on 9 November 1985 was the bloodiest in the history of the gang.

The Brabant Killers were a group of masked and heavily armed men who murdered 28 people in violent robberies on supermarkets and warehouses in Flemish and Walloon Brabant in the early 1980s.

None of the gang have ever been positively identified by authorities. In 2015, parliament extended the statute of limitations on the case to 2025.

The Brabant Killers have been in the news lately more than usual following allegations last month by a Dendermonde man that his brother, who died in 2015, was one of the gang’s three leaders.

The deceased man had been a member of the former Rijkswacht, a paramilitary police force. It has long been speculated that members of the Rijkswacht were behind the multiple attacks and that that is why the investigation has always been hindered.

Ministers, victims at memorial

The November 1985 attack on the Delhaize store in Aalst was the final appearance of the gang. Eight people were shot to death and another 15 injured.

The memorial took place this morning at the site of a monument dedicated to the victims of the attack at the city cemetery on Leo de Béthunelaan. Federal justice minister Koen Geens and prosecutor-general Christian De Valkeneer, who is currently in charge of the investigation, were present alongside families of victims and those injured in the attack.

The mayor of Aalst, Christoph D’Haese, had harsh words for the justice department. “You have failed for years in correctly dealing with the victims, and the investigation has been extremely unprofessional,” he said. “There are so many questions that remain. Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Is there a link to the Rijkswacht? … We have the right to know the truth – judicial, factual and humanitarian.”

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA

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