The twin terror sieges in Holland continued throughout the day on Tuesday (24 May) as the Dutch Government refused to consider the South Moluccan extremists' demands until 105 child hostages were released.
The twin terror sieges in Holland continued throughout the day on Tuesday (24 May) as the Dutch Government refused to consider the South Moluccan extremists' demands until 105 child hostages were released. The gunmen, holding the children and six teachers hostage in a school and another 60 people in a train a few miles away, were demanding the release of 21 South Moluccans in jail for guerrilla activities -- including twin raids eighteen months ago on a train and the Indonesian consulate in Amsterdam.
SYNOPSIS: At the beginning of the day, gunfire and crying were heard from inside the school. Six shots were followed by the sound of weeping, although police, troops, newsmen and anxious parents at the scene saw nothing. There was no immediate explanation for the incident, although later in the day police assumed that nobody inside the school was hurt, and the shots were only intended to frighten off cameraman getting too close.
Meanwhile, as police and the army mounted a massive cordon around the area, Prime Minister Joop den Uyl decided to go ahead with Wednesday's (25 May) general elections -- although all parites stooped campaigning when the dual sieges started on Monday. The gunmen, who belong to a group of Moluccans seeking independence from Indonesia for the Moluccos Islands, want the Dutch Government to intervene. Indonesia was once a Dutch colony. The latest sieges were also aimed at securing the freedom of the jailed extremists, and an aircraft to take them out the country.
During the afternoon a woman patient from a mental institution broke through the police cordon and walked towards the school. Security men did not follow her, in the face of a volley of warning shots and threats from the gunmen to kill anyone who came near. But then the extremists telephoned the authorities to ask them to remove the woman, who was by then laying down in a bicycle shed. Two security men, stripped to their underwear on the gunmen's instruction, escorted her safely out.
In the nearby siege train, the sixty hostages sweltered in the daytime heat. There was insufficient battery power to operate the air conditions, or heating for the cold nights, and at one stage the gunmen allowed some passenger to open windows. An estimated seven to eight hundred troops and police surrounded the train. But communications with the gunmen inside, via a single field telephone installed on Monday night, was more difficult than with the school group. Most of the train hostages were thought to be university and secondary school students.