Suriname police arrest man who rammed car into convoy Dutch prime minister

Police in this South American country arrested a former soldier who rammed his car into a convoy transporting the Dutch prime minister, who was visiting to mark the 30th anniversary of Suriname's independence from the Netherlands, authorities said Saturday.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was leaving Suriname on Friday after a two-day visit when a vehicle in his convoy was struck, causing minor damage, said John Jones, spokesman for the national police.

No one was injured and Balkenende left as scheduled. A man identified only as F. Jadoenatmissier by police was arrested at the scene. Jadoenatmissier, 47, had a gun with him, and police found weapons and ammunition at his home.

Police believe Jadoenatmissier deliberately attacked the convoy but didn't give a reason why he did it. Jadoenatmissier served 4.5 years in prison for setting fire with a few others to the state television building in the 1990s, which caused damage to its archives. No one was hurt.

Balkenende's visit prompted the opposition party of former dictator Desi Bouterse to walk out of parliament in protest Friday during an independence-day speech by Suriname's president with the Dutch prime minister in attendance.

The 15 legislators from the National Democratic Party left parliament to protest what they claim was a statement by Balkenende last week that he would not meet with Bouterse.

Bouterse, now an elected legislator, was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands of drug smuggling. He was never extradited because Suriname and the Netherlands have a treaty barring them from extraditing their citizens to each other's countries, AP reports.

A. A.

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