12 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — Police have arrested 29 people during a raid on a suspected paramilitary training camp run by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in the Dutch town of Liempde. Other raids are also said to have occurred across the country.
Boxtel Council Mayor Jan van Homelen said the training camp was based at the campground De Mus'donck on the edge of the Brabant town in the south of the country. The Brabant camp had been used as training ground for some time, he said.
A public prosecutor spokesman said on Friday the campground was being used as a PKK paramilitary training camp. Officers with the National Detectives Unit (Nationale Recherche) carried out the raid at about 5.30am. Van Homelen said raids were also conducted at various other places.
A source from the Kurdish community in the Netherlands said three arrests had been made in The Hague and another arrest was carried out in Eindhoven. The public prosecutor has refused to confirm the claim.
But the source also said the case was being exaggerated, confirming that there are often meetings of Kurdish people, but he denied these meetings were training camps.
The camp in Liempde was sealed off throughout the operation, but the prosecutor spokesman said that the police operation was not linked to the recent troubles with Islamic extremism in the Netherlands.
He was referring to the murder of Dutch filmmaker by an alleged Islamic militant and the arrests of several other suspected terrorists.
The police operation ended at about midday on Wednesday, allowing for the campground to be reopened. But the camp was left deserted and virtually empty after the police raid.
The PPK waged a bloody paramilitary war against Turkey in the 1990s. The group wanted to establish a Marxist and independent Kurdish state in the east of Turkey and other Kurdish regions. It was established in 1974.
Residents reacted with disbelief at Friday's raid, asserting they had no idea that the campers were possibly involved in suspicious activities.
But they also described the site as a suitable location for a training camp, given its seclusion in the forests, shielded from the public road.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news
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