Mother to sue Defense for soldier's death in Mali grenade explosion

Greetje Groenbroek, the mother of one of two soldiers killed in a mortar grenade explosion in Mali last year, plans to take legal action against the Ministry of Defense. On Thursday the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the grenades used in the UN mission in Mali were unsafe and that the medical treatment available to soldiers there is not in order.

"Defense is 100 percent responsible for the death of my son. Someone in Defense knowingly took the risk and ignored the recommendations. They will not get away with it, as far as we're concerned, heads must roll", Groenbroek said in an interview with RTV Noord. 

Groenbroek's son Henry Hoving and his colleague Kevin Roggeveld were killed when a 60 mm mortar grenade exploded during training in July last year. A third Dutch soldier sustained serious injuries. Earlier on Thursday, military union VBM chairman Jean Debie told RTL that Defense knew the grenades were unsafe - an evaluator rejected them after they were purchased for a mission in Afghanistan in 2006. The Dutch Safety Board said that the Dutch Defense Ministry omitted procedures and controls, because Defense thought the US Army used the ammunition itself and checked its safety - despite the fact that the purchase contract explicitly stated that this was not the case. 

"I am furious", Groenbroek said to the broadcaster. "You help people there because it is unsafe, and then our own people are killed due to gross negligence."

"What I find the worst, is that it was known", she added. "The investigation report contained only read crosses, it was mistake on mistake. On top of that, they had three years to approve the mortars after they returned from Afghanistan. That never happened. I think it's unimaginable."

Kees Roggeveld, father of Kevin Roggeveld, spoke of "death through negligence" on Thursday, according to newspaper Trouw.

Union VBM will support Groenbroek in her lawsuit, Jean Debie said to Nieuwsuur on Thursday night. 

Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will face the Tweede Kamer in a parliamentary debate on the Safety Board's conclusions next week.