Police make 10th arrest as country prepares to bury two more victims

 

POLICE made their 10th arrest in Belgium's scandal of child kidnapping, sex abuse, killing and car theft yesterday as the country prepared to bury two young female victims of the gang and searches for more bodies continued.

Ms Annie Bouty, companion of Mr Jean Michel Nihoul, who has been charged with criminal association, was arrested after questioning by investigators in the Neufchateau nerve centre of the international paedophile hunt, a gendarmerie official said.

Two teenagers, Eefje Lambrecks and her friend An Marchal, unearthed by police on Tuesday, will be buried tomorrow after separate church services in their home town of Hasselt, eastern Belgium, a city official said.

The bodies of the girls were found in a metal container beneath a shed on the grounds of a house in the Jumet suburb of the city of Charleroi belonging to the convicted child rapist, Mr Marc Dutroux, who admits kidnapping them in August 1995.

The house was formerly occupied by a Frenchman, Bernard Weinstein, an accomplice whom Mr Dutroux admits killing and whom he accuses of murdering the two.

Eefje Lamb reeks will be buried after a service in Banneux Church in Hasselt, eastern Belgium. Her friend, An Marchal, will be buried after a service in Hasselt Cathedral, a city official said.

The parents of the two girls fell out some time ago over the decision of one to sell postcard sized pictures of them with requests for leads in order to raise money to hire a private detective to pick up where the police had evidently left off.

Belgium has been in shock and mourning since August 15th when Laetitia Delhez (14) and Sabine Dardenne (12) were rescued from a makeshift dungeon in another house owned by Mr Dutroux in the Marcinelle suburb of Charleroi.

The bodies of two eight year olds, Julie Lefeune and Melissa Russo, were found dead from starvation two days later in a house owned by Mr Dutroux in Sars la Buisierre, south west of the city.

They were buried in the city of Liege amid a national outpouring of grief on August 22nd, the anniversary of the abduction of An and Eefje.

Yesterday police resumed searches at Sars la Buissiere and some of the more than 11 locations either owned by or connected to Mr Dutroux, including one in Brussels.