Nine soldiers, including two women, were arrested in Eindhoven in the early hours of this morning for beating up a tramp. The victim, a 28-year old man was knocked unconscious. Police say the attackers, all stationed in Oirschot, were drunk at the time of the incident.Bad soldiers! Bad, bad soldiers! In righteous indignation our new minister of Defence, Eimert van Middelkoop (Christian Union), condemned the incident as 'cowardly and rejectable behavior' on the part of the soldiers. Five of the soldiers remain in custody, the other four have been suspended from service immediately. All nine face dishonorable discharge. That'll show'em!
But details are now emerging that shed a somewhat different light on the whole incident. The 'tramp', the '28-year old man' turns out to be an obnoxious Somali. Elsevier is reporting (NL) that according to the lawyer of five soldiers still in custody, the Somali was pestering the soldiers for money. On his second attempt he was pushed away by one of the soldiers. Upon this our 'tramp' went and found a broken bottle, returned and stabbed the pusher in the leg with it. Soldiers, being expected not to take such abuse lying down, responded as soldiers do. Despite the fact that all nine were facing a growing number of 'colleagues' of the Somali.
Understandably, the soldiers feel abandoned by their employer. Says the soldier's lawyer:
The minister repeatedly sends these soldiers out on missions in dangerous areas of the world. They find it a painful experience that the minister drops them without any knowledge of what really happened.So many questions... First and foremost: Why is the stabbing coming out only now? Even the Eindhoven police initially stated that the Somali had been assaulted 'for no reason'. Who ordered keeping this not unimportant bit of the story under wraps? Why didn't van Middelkoop, as the boss of these nine, have the decency to wait untill he knew all the facts before throwing his people to the wolves? It stinks, this whole story does.