PODCAST. ‘Death in the Youth House’, part 3: “Witnesses remained silent for fear of reprisals”

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After the deadly attack on Mark Bos, dozens of partygoers are being questioned by the police as witnesses. But no one can identify the perpetrators. Because they really don’t know? Or because they don’t dare to speak?

Geert Op’t Eynde

“Yes, I think that many of those young people were afraid to say something, for fear of reprisals or something,” says Maurice Vanoevelen, former mayor of Houthalen-Helchteren, in part 3 of ‘Dood in het Jeugdhuis’. “After all, I cannot imagine that no one has seen perfectly what happened there. People must have been very close to that. It was dark, but still… By the way, the perpetrators themselves never admitted who inflicted the fatal stab. They didn’t betray each other, so to speak. I think that clearly points to a kind of omerta that is certainly associated with those guests lived, but also with people who were there and who must have seen the facts.”

“Brick through the window”

According to Maurice Vanoevelen, it is quite possible that certain eyewitnesses deliberately remained silent. Because the tensions in and around Meulenberg reached a peak in the 1990s. “It was spring tide, and we couldn’t control it. If a police combi patrolled in Meulenberg, the officers would have a brick thrown through their window. We were not equipped to deal with those problems, we did not have the resources to intervene. Since the major police merger, however: today the police can drive to Meulenberg with a raid van, containing seven armed men to the teeth. Well, that is something very different from two local police officers who risked a beating at the time if they showed themselves there.”

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