A body found in the woods in Belgium on Saturday likely belonged to a rogue soldier who fled his unit a month ago with an arsenal of weapons and threatened to assassinate the country’s top virologist, prosecutors said.
A massive manhunt involving the Belgian army and police and the militaries of neighboring Germany and the Netherlands was launched after the disappearance of veteran sniper Jurgen Conings on May 17.
The 46-year-old soldier, with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, snatched several anti-tank missiles, a submachine gun, a handgun and a bulletproof vest from a military warehouse, and left notes containing death threats against Belgium’s top officials before he went missing. Virologist Marc Van Ranst, who had a hand in the Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium, was on that hit list and ended up being placed in a safe house by the authorities.
In one of his messages, Conings explained that he “could no longer live in a society where politicians and virologists have taken everything away from us” and warned that he wasn’t planning to surrender peacefully.
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He was designated as a “terrorist suspect” due to his far-right views, which – as it turned out – had been known to military intelligence. The Belgian media has been questioning how it was possible for a person with extremist links to have access to heavy weapons. But the authorities and the military still haven’t provided a satisfactory answer to that.
Despite being a security threat, the rogue soldier also became a symbol for some in Belgium who are similarly unhappy with the lockdowns and other coronavirus restrictions. A Facebook page titled “As 1 behind Jurgen” attracted 50,000 followers before the tech giant decided to shut it down over claims it could incite violence. (RT)
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