Gulf Today

Dutch hostage drama ends, suspect arrested


EDE: A hostage drama in the Netherland­s that lasted several hours on Saturday ended without bloodshed as all four hostages were freed and police took the suspect into custody.

Authoritie­s have said there was no reason to suspect a “terrorist motive” for the ordeal, which took place at a night spot popular with young people in the town of Ede.

Police said they received reports of a potential hostage situation at 5:15am (0415 GMT) at the Cafe Peticoat, with local media saying a “confused” man burst in as staff were clearing up ater a party.

The man was armed with “several knives” that he showed to the hostages, prosecutor Marthyne Kunst told reporters at a news conference in the town hall.

Police are also investigat­ing a black backpack he was carrying with him, amid reports that the hostage-taker had threatened to use explosives.

Police spokesman Anne Jan Oosterheer­t said officers were on the scene within minutes, opening negotiatio­ns immediatel­y with the man.

“Luckily that all went well,” he said, declining to offer details of the negotiatio­ns.

The suspect is known to the police and has a previous conviction for threatenin­g behaviour. Investigat­ions are underway as to his motive and psychologi­cal state, Kunst said.

The incident sparked a major deployment including riot police and explosives experts.

Police cleared the centre of the town and evacuated the residents of some 150 buildings near the cafe. Trains were diverted away from the town as a precaution.

Hours ater the ordeal began, an initial group of three people were released, pictures from public broadcaste­r NOS showing them exiting the building with their hands in the air.

The fourth hostage was freed shortly afterwards, with the suspected hostage-taker then arrested.

NOS images showed a man kneeling on the ground with his hands behind his back, as officers restrained him with handcuffs.

“A terrible situation for all these people. My concern and thoughts go out to them and their loved ones. I hope that the situation is now resolved quickly and safely,” said Ede mayor Rene Verhulst.

“Emotions are high” in the town, said the mayor, saying it had been “a very intense Saturday morning.”

Last year, a 27-year-old man armed with two guns held several people hostage at an Apple store in Amsterdam, sparking a tense five-hour ordeal.

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Dutch police officers stand guard near the Cafe Petticoat, where several people were held hostage, in Ede on Saturday.
Reuters ↑ Dutch police officers stand guard near the Cafe Petticoat, where several people were held hostage, in Ede on Saturday.

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