Nivelles gang


Nivelles gang

The Killers of Brabant or the Nivelles gang ("De Bende van Nijvel" or "de Bende" in Dutch, "Les Tueurs du Brabant" or "les Tueurs fous du Brabant" in French) is a group or groups thought to be responsible for the "massacre of Brabant", a series of violent attacks that occurred mostly in the Brabant-province in Belgium from 1982 to 1985 and resulted in 28 deaths and over 20 others injured.

The gang was named for the city of Nivelles, in Walloon Brabant-province, were they made their first big robbery, killing one police officer and two civilians. Before this attack, the gang already committed two murders, but on a smaller and less spectacular scale. The gang is sometimes referred to in English as "The Brabant Killers."

The gang carried out armed robberies of restaurants, stores, supermarkets and a weapons depot with almost military precision, leading to suspicions that this was an effort to destabilize the country coming from disgruntled members of the Belgian Gendarmerie ("Rijkswacht" in Dutch, "Gendarmerie" in French), a police force then supervised by the Belgian Minister of Defense. The weapons used to carry out the murders were stolen from a Belgian Gendarmerie-arsenal, in 1979.

According to the survivors' eyewitness testimonies, the gang was composed of three recurring gangleaders, assisted by a larger group of changing people. The three gangleaders were the "Giant" (because of his height), the "Killer" (who killed 23 out of the total 28 victims) and the "Old Man" (because of his age).

Until now, the identity and the whereabouts of the killers are unknown.

Possible motives

Militant groups

The gang(s) was (were) mentioned as linked to the neo-Nazi organization Westland New Post (WNP), which aimed to destabilize Belgian society and provoke an outrage of civil unrest in order "to establish a government lead by ultra-conservatives of the Parti Social-Chrétien".

This theory is based on rumours about the neo-Nazi connections of the Gendarmerie in Brussels as well as on the "military precision" of the attacks. All Gendarmerie-officers were trained in military law enforcement and commando actions.

The controversial Belgian nobleman Benoit de Bonvoisin, the so-called "Black Baron", was named one of the possible financiers of the Nijvel gang. The suicide of Westland New Post leader Paul Latinus may have actually been a camouflaged murder by the Nijvel Gang in April 1984.

The gang(s) was (were) also mentioned as linked to the communist CCC ("Cellules Communistes Combattantes"), though that organization's methods (bombings in which authorities were notified in advance) were not used in these crimes.

Gladio

The massacre of Brabant has also been linked to a conspiracy among the Belgian "stay-behind" network SDRA8—camouflaged in the Belgian military service, the Belgian Gendarmerie SDRA6 and the US secret service Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Some high-placed investigators believed - and some still believe - that these "crimes" were "pre-emptive actions" against the communist threat in Western Europe. These actions were hence linked to Operation Gladio, a large paramilitary network, created and supported by NATO, which was active in many European countries to counterattack all possible communist operations. However, the Belgian parliamentary inquiry into Gladio found no substantive evidence that Gladio was involved with any terrorist acts or that criminal groups had infiltrated the stay-behind network. [http://www.senate.be/lexdocs/S0523/S05231297.pdf]

Pink ballets

The Belgian tabloids also developed another conspiracy theory based on one of Belgium's most famous urban legends, the so-called "Pink ballets" ("Roze balleten" in Dutch). These "Pink Ballets" were supposedly sex parties, mostly with young underaged girls and boys, which several eminent members of the Belgian "high society" were said to have participated in, including noblemen, high civil servants, politicians, ministers, business leaders and policemen.

Real-estate magnate Jacques Fourez and his secretary Elise Dewit, who were killed by the Nijvel gang in 1983, were supposed to have secret tapes of these parties. The killings of Jacques van Camp, Léon Finné and Constantin Angelou were also brought into connection with the "Pink Ballets".

Organized crime

This theory is linked to illegal gun-running, which was in the 1980s one of mafia's core businesses in Cold War Europe. The murdered banker Léon Finné (in Overijse) was involved in illegal gun traffic.

Overview of the alleged crimes

1982

*March 13: armed robbery of a retail store in Dinant. A hunting rifle was stolen. No people killed. The rifle was never used during the attacks, but was found five years later, together with the other weapens of the gang.
*August 14: armed robbery of a grocery store in Maubeuge, France. Tea and wine were stolen. No people killed, two French Gendarmerie-officers wounded.
*September 30: armed robbery of a weapons dealer in Wavre. Fifteen firearms were stolen, including several machine guns. One policeman was killed, two other wounded.
*December 23: armed robbery of a restaurant in Beersel. Coffee and wine were stolen. One person was killed, he was tortured to death.

1983

*January 12: car-jacking of a cab Brussels. The car was found in Mons. The purse of the taxi driver was stolen, the taxi driver was killed.
*February 11: armed robbery of a supermarket in Rixensart. Less than 18,000.00 $ was stolen. No people killed, several wounded.
*February 25: armed robbery of a supermarket in Uccle/Ukkel. Less than 16,000.00 $ was stolen. No people killed.
*March 3: armed robbery of a supermarket in Halle. Less than 18,000.00 $ was stolen. One staff member was killed.
*May 7: armed robbery of a supermarket in Houdeng-Gougnies. Less than 22,000.00 $ was stolen. No people killed.
*September 10: armed robbery of a textile factory in Temse. Seven bullet-proof jackets were stolen. One worker was killed, his wife serverly wounded.
*September 17: armed robbery of a supermarket in Nivelles. Nothing was stolen. Three people were killed.
*October 2: armed robbery of a restaurant in Ohain. Nothing was stolen. The owner was killed.
*October 7: armed robbery of a supermarket in Beersel. Less than 35,000.00 $ was stolen. One customer was killed.
*December 1: armed robbery of a jeweller in Anderlues. Some low-value jewels were stolen. Two people were killed.

1985

After months of silence, the gang starts a new series of robberies. The attacks of 1985 were the most violent since the beginning, in 1982.

* September 27: armed robbery and a killing in a supermarket Delhaize in Braine-l'Alleud Graignettestreet(rue de la Graignette),5. Less than 6,000.00 $ was stolen. Three people were killed, two people wounded.
* September 27: (only 15 minutes after the first attack that night) armed robbery and a killing in a supermarket Delhaize in Overijse, Brussels avenue (Brusselsesteenweg),399. Less than 25,000.00 $ was stolen. Five people were killed, one person wounded.
* November 9: armed robbery and a killing in a supermarket Delhaize in Aalst, Park avenue(Parklaan). Less than 25,000.00 $ was stolen. Eight people were killed, a few more people wounded.

Recent events

In 2004, the police found some abandoned weaponry, clothing and jewellery in the "Bois de la Houssière", the forest where the three main suspects were spotted for the last time in 1985.

In 2005, after an anonymous tip, the investigators hoped to find the buried corpse of one of the three gang leaders in the same forest, without any success.

In 2006, in the south of France, the houses of several notorious criminals were searched in order to find a new trace. Among these suspects was the criminal and former Gendarmerie member Madani Bouhouche, who died a few months before the house-search in a chainsaw accident while cutting a tree in his garden. [http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=24&story_id=26594&name=Secrets+untold]

In 2015, all these crimes will expire and no further prosecutions against the gang will be possible. The crimes would have been expired in the year 2000, but the Belgian Parliament accepted two laws to continue the investigation.

See also

*Cellules Communistes Combattantes
*Gladio
*Vlaamse Militanten Orde

External links

* [http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/showpage.cfm?section=flwb&language=fr&rightmenu=right&cfm=/site/wwwcfm/flwb/flwbn.cfm?lang=N&legislat=49&dossierID=0573 Belgian Chamber of Representatives] , parliamentary investigation into the Nijvel gang. fr_icon nl_icon
* [http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/showpage.cfm?section=flwb&language=fr&rightmenu=right&cfm=/site/wwwcfm/flwb/flwbn.cfm?lang=F&legislat=47&dossierID=0059 Belgian Chamber of Representatives] , parliamentary investigation into banditism. fr_icon nl_icon
* [http://www.senate.be/lexdocs/S0523/S05231297.pdf Belgian Senate] , parliamentary investigation into Gladio. fr_icon nl_icon
* [http://www.senate.be/lexdocs/S0611/S06110269.pdf Belgian Senate] , parliamentary investigation into private militias.fr_icon nl_icon
* [http://www.bendevannijvel.com/ Bendevannijvel.com]
* [http://www.bendevannijvel.com/forum/index.php Bendevannijvel.com | Forum]
* [http://anneesdeplomb.topdiscussion.com/ Forum about "Gang of Nijvel"]
*http://tueriesdubrabant.be.cx


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