14, 1952 - November 22, 2005) was a former Belgian gendarme with
the Belgian Gendarmerie, convicted in 1995 for various crimes,
including two murders.
Bouhouche was born in Brussels, son of an Algerian father and
Belgian mother. He started his police career with the
Bijzondere Opsporings Brigade (BOB), a special investigative
branch of the Gendarmerie, the former military police of
Soon after joining the BOB, Bouhouche would develop
illegal activities with other gendarmes of the BOB. One of them,
Robert Beijer, would later setup a private detective bureau with
Bouhouche in 1983, the Agence de Recherches et d'Informations.
Arrests and trials
first arrested in January 1986, becoming a suspect of the murder
of Juan Mendez, a FN weapons engineer and sales manager for
Latin America. Bouhouche would be released in November 1988
though. After a diamond dealer in Antwerp was murdered in 1989,
Bouhouche would again be arrested.
be convicted of this murder in 1995, receiving a 20-year
sentence. His accomplish, Robert Beijer, would receive fourteen
years. In that trial they will also be convicted for murdering a
security guard in 1982. The trial took more than five months,
and was one of the longest in Belgian history.
have claimed that Bouhouche and Beijer were part of the Nijvel
gang, but both have always denied this.
Post-parole life and death
15, 2000, Bouhouche was freed on parole, having already spent
fourteen years in prison. He moved to the French Pyrenees,
living isolated in the small city of Fougax-et-Barrineuf, being
responsible for a rental accomodation of an old friend of his,
Alain Weykamp. He would die there in November 2005, when a tree
fell on him while he was doing some brush work.
police knew nothing of his criminal past, and would allow his
body to be cremated. Bouhouche's death only became known in
Belgium when the investigative team of the Nijvel gang checked
up on what happend to previously suspected people.
death, an investigative team looked through the home where
Bouhouche lived, finding a Remington riot gun. Because the
Nijvel gang also used riot guns, a ballastic test was performed.
Weapon experts concluded in June 2006 that the Remington riot
gun was not used in the Nijvel gang attacks.
News broke this week that one of
Belgium's most famous criminals died a violent death in the French
Pyrenees on 22 November 2005 possibility taking his secrets to the
Former state policeman Madani Bouhouche, 53,
was beheaded after a large clump of wood flew off a tree he was
cutting with a chainsaw. His death is not considered suspicious,
Jumet judiciary spokesman Eddy Vos said.
The accident took place near the French city of
Foix and Bouhouche's body was found by a female neighbour. His
body was cremated in the presence of a few family members.
And yet it was not until shortly before
Christmas that the Belgian judiciary became aware of Bouhouche's
death. The discovery was made by a search of the population
However, his death has now presented the
Belgian judiciary an opportunity to conduct further investigations
at the farmhouse into the Gang of Nijvel, which was involved in
the killing of 28 people at the start of 1980s.
The extreme-right Bouhouche was long suspected,
but never convicted, of withholding information about the gang,
infamous for violent attacks and robberies in large shopping
stores in an apparent attempt to destabilise the Belgian state.
A violent past
Together with his inseparable companion and
former state police officer, Robert 'Bob' Beijer, Bouhouche was
suspected of some of the most infamous crimes in the 1980s.
Bouhouche and Beijer faced trial in 1994 for a
series of crimes committed between 1981 and 1989.
Bouhouche maintained his silence, but was found
guilty of handling stolen weapons. The weapons were stolen from
the Special Intervention Squadron in 1982.
He was also convicted of the manslaughter of
Libyan diamond dealer Ali Suleiman in Antwerp on 2 September 1989.
Suleiman died during an argument
with Bouhouche and Beijer who were then amateur private detectives
in his Antwerp office. Both men kept silent about the matter.
They also refused to talk about the
disappearance in 1982 of Francis Zwarts, a security officer of
Belgian airline Sabena. Zwarts disappeared with a shipment of gold
and bonds he was transporting. His body was never found.
Brussels Court sentenced Bouhouche in January
1995 to 20 years jail. Beijer got 14 years.
However, Bouhouche was never found guilty of
the murder of Juan Mendez, an engineer with weapons maker FN in
Herstal on 7 January 1986. He was also acquitted of an attack
against state police major Herman Vernaillen in October 1981.
Gang of Nijvel
Despite his convictions, rumours in the 1980s
and 1990s persistently linked Bouhouche and Beijer to the Gang of
However, no proof was ever found and instead,
Bouhouche 'passed' a lie detector test. A DNA comparison also
He was released on parole in September 2000
after serving 11 years of his 20-year jail term (including the six
years Bouhouche spent in pre-trial remand detention).
Bouhouche then closed himself off to the world
and to the casual eye, led a hermit's life in the mountains.
Shortly after his release, Bouhouche moved with
his girlfriend to the French Pyrenees, where they lived on a
remote, simple farm near the city of Foix. He farmed goats, bred
dogs and made cheese. In the past year, he lived there alone.
In response to Bouhouche's death, Jumet
judiciary officials travelled to France on 1 January to search the
farm for clues linked to inquiries into the Gang of Nijvel.
Judiciary spokesman Vos said investigators were
looking for weapons or documents and were prepared to conduct a
very thorough investigation.