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On 2 December 1975, seven South Moluccan terrorists seized a train with about 50 passengers on board in open countryside near the village of Wijster, halfway between Hoogeveen and Beilen in the northern part of the Netherlands. The hijacking lasted for 12 days and three hostages were killed.

1975 Dutch train hostage crisis
Treinkaping bij Beilen (derde dag) twee kapers gooien iets weg, buiten de trein, Bestanddeelnr 928-3080.jpg
LocationFlag of the Netherlands.svg Wijster, Netherlands
Coordinates52°49′N 6°31′E / 52.817°N 6.517°E / 52.817; 6.517Coordinates: 52°49′N 6°31′E / 52.817°N 6.517°E / 52.817; 6.517
Date2 December – 14 December 1975
TargetTrain
Attack type
Murder, hostage-taking
WeaponsGuns / handguns
Deaths3
Injuries
unknown
PerpetratorsMoluccan youth
MotiveA free South Moluccan Republic (Republik Maluku Selatan)

At the same time, seven other South-Moluccans took hostages in the Indonesian Consulate in Amsterdam.

The attackers came from Bovensmilde, a village where a few years later another group of South Moluccans seized a primary school. The attackers hid their weapons disguised as presents for the Sinterklaas holiday on 5 December.

ContextEdit

The South-Moluccans came to the Netherlands for a temporary stay, promised by the Dutch government that they would get their own independent state, Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS). For about 25 years they lived in temporary camps, often in poor conditions. After these years the younger generation felt betrayed by the Dutch government for not giving them their independent state and they started radical actions to draw attention to their case.

DevelopmentsEdit

 
Military roadblock at Wijster

Around 07:10 the emergency cord was pulled on the local train Groningen-Zwolle. The traindriver, Hans Braam, was immediately murdered. When on the third day the Dutch government had not given the hijackers what they wanted, 22-year-old national serviceman Leo Bulter was murdered and both bodies were thrown out of the train on the rails. That night 14 hostages managed to escape from the train.

The next day young economist Bert Bierling was brought to the doors and shot dead in full view of the police and the military as well as the press. The dead bodies thrown from the train were only allowed to be taken away a couple of days later.

On 14 December the hijackers surrendered. Among reasons for surrender were reports about retaliations on the Moluccan islands and the sub-zero temperatures in and around the train.

AftermathEdit

The hijackers were convicted to sentences of 14 years. The most fanatical member of the hijackers, Eli Hahury, committed suicide in prison in 1978.

In 2008 a Dutch-language television film was made about this hostage crisis.

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