Weapons found, arrest made in Utrecht assassinations case

Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)

The police raided five homes in Utrecht, Bunschoten-Spakenburg and Amersfoort on Tuesday as part of a major investigation into a number of assassinations and attempted assassinations in the Utrecht region. Two persons from Bunschoten-Spakenburg, aged 24 and 33 years, were arrested. The police also seized four firearms and a number of other items, AD reports.

This investigation has to do with shooting incidents in the region last year, police spokesperson Leonie Bosselaar said to the newspaper. The police want to send a 'signal', she said. "The police are on top of it and will stay on top of it. We investigate whether there are links between the shootings." 

Bosselaar would not say exactly which shootings form part of the investigation. "The investigation, of course, continues unabated", she said to the newspaper.

There were several shootings in and around Utrecht last year. In January 31-year-old Hakim Chengachi was shot dead in his apartment building on Faustdreef. It was later revealed that he was not the intended target. Two days later two suspects were arrested. They were arrested on their way to assassinate Khalid H., who lives in the same building, according to AD.

In May gunmen opened fire on a man in the Utrecht neighborhood of Zuilen. The fleeing man managed to escape with his life. Two suspects were arrested. According to AD, this also seems to be a mistaken-identity attack - the perpetrators put a tracker on the wrong car. 

In July Amsterdam criminal Jair Wessels was shot dead in his car while he was waiting to meet someone near Breukelen station. He was shot at close range with an automatic firearm. Three men were recently arrested in connection with his murder.

Timon Badloe was assassinated in Nieuwegein in November, also shot at close range with an automatic firearm while sitting in his car. The gunmen were arrested shortly thereafter, after a police chase that ended at the AMC in Amsterdam. 

In December two men opened fire on two other men sitting in a car on Japuradreef and Costaricadreef. Over 20 bullets were fired, one hitting a 81-year-old woman sleeping in her bed. The two targets were wounded, but survived. The police raided several homes after this shooting, including those of the victims, and found tracking systems, observation equipment and drugs. These were confiscated.