Police in the Zone Nord in Brussels last night put an end to a hostage situation in the commune of Saint-Josse, following a ten-hour stand-off.
Police received a call at around noon of a hostage-taking in the Rue Traversière, close to Botanique. The situation was reported to be a family dispute, a police spokesperson said.
Both the Rue Traversière and the adjoining Chaussée de Haecht and Rue Royale were sealed off by police vehicles, including the minibus of the special interventions unit.
“The entire operation took a long time because we wanted to guarantee that the victim would not be endangered during the hostage crisis,” said Audrey Dereymaeker of Zone Nord.
“That is why there was also assistance from the fire brigade and ambulances throughout the day. Negotiations throughout the day yielded no results and it was therefore decided to raid around a quarter past ten in the evening,” she said.
“The intervention went smoothly and led to the arrest of the perpetrator. The man was armed, but not with a firearm.”
Witnesses reported hearing three loud bangs as the police went in, which the spokesperson explained were devices used to gain entry to the home.
The police intervention also led to the release of the victim, a female minor aged 17 said to be slightly injured.
UPDATE: The Brussels prosecutor's office has released the following statement.
On Saturday, May 15, 2021, around noon, the local police of the Brussels North zone were summoned to a dispute in an apartment building in the Rue Traversière in Saint-Josse. Based on first accounts, the suspect had detained a child victim. A full security perimeter was set up, while the fire brigade and emergency services were already on site. The Special Forces of the Federal Police (CGSU) were called in as reinforcements. The Special Forces, together with a magistrate from the Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office, began negotiations.
"These negotiations lasted several hours. As the suspect refused to surrender to the police, it was decided to proceed to enter the apartment building by using some small hand grenades that were detonated. There were no injuries in this intervention, the victim could be freed and suffered minor injuries. The suspect was arrested and interrogated by the police. The public prosecutor's office of Brussels has appointed an investigating magistrate to look into offences of unlawful and arbitrary deprivation of liberty involving death threats, hostage-taking of a minor, deliberate assault and battery and possession of a weapon.