MPs want answers on Moluccan train siege ending in 1977

Labour and Socialist MPs have called on justice minister Ivo Opstelten to answer questions about the violent end to a train hijack by South Moluccan activists in 1977, in which six of the hijackers and two hostages were killed.

The Volkskrant published documents at the weekend showing the hijackers died in a ‘hail of bullets’, disproving the official line that the aim had not been to kill the hijackers.

In total, the six hijackers were hit by 144 bullets. One was hit 40 times, another 33, the Volkskrant report said.

‘This case stinks. It is important we get to the bottom of what happened, for the sake of everyone involved: politicians, the former hostages, relatives of the hijackers,’ Socialist MP Harry van Bommel told the Volkskrant on Monday.


Six hijackers and two passengers were killed when soldiers raked the train with bullets after a 20-day stand-off.

Nine armed Moluccans had taken over the train close to De Punt in Drenthe in an effort to force the Dutch government to recognise an independent South Molucca, as it had promised during Indonesia independence talks. Four other Moluccans took over a primary school in Drenthe at the same time, but gave themselves up.

The official documents on the ending of the siege have been sealed until 2053 and there has never been a systematic report on what happened, the VK said.

The prime minister who gave the go ahead to end the siege, Joop den Uyl, in 1987 described the deaths as an execution.

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