Intelligence service monitoring 60 soldiers

The military intelligence service is keeping a close eye on 60 soldiers. They allegedly displayed a kind of behaviour - in one way or another - that could suggest extremist ideas. The Defence department said that they will no longer be deployed in armed missions, but they will not be dismissed.

Commanders in the Belgian army all followed a course last year, in which they learned which characteristics or signals can give away that somebody is adopting extremist ideas. A radicalisation process can go very fast, examples from the past have shown, which is why the army did not want to waste any time. 

Back in their units, commanders put theory into practice and collected a number of names of possibly dangerous persons. Eventually, and after a round of conversations, 60 names were withheld: 55 soldiers and 5 NCO's.

The persons concerned will no longer serve in armed missions, but they will be kept on board. "The army is a reflection of society. One aspect of our western society is freedom of opinion. We can never dismiss anyone just on the basis of his or her ideas", explains Defence Minister Steven Vandeput. 

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