Manhunt for possibly dangerous armed soldier continues in Limburg, search warrant issued

Yesterday, a member of the Belgian armed forces vanished. He is probably in the possession of heavy guns. It is thought that the man has plans for an attack: he reportedly has far-right sympathies and figures on a list of possible terrorists compiled by the OCAD, the body which analyses the terror threat in Belgium. There is still no trace of the 46-year-old; the judicial authorities have issued a search warrant. A natural park where he may be hiding, has been sealed. 

The man uttered threats in the past and may have concrete plans for a (terrorist) attack. He had problems with the approach of the corona crisis by the government and by virologists, among others things, and is quoted as saying 'I can't live in a world dominated by virologists' in press reports. The 46-year-old targeted the renowned Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst among others. Mr Van Ranst received special police protection and was moved to a safe place together with his family. 

The search started when the man didn't come home after his shift at the military forces. Yesterday evening, his car was found at the edge of the Dilserbos near Dilsen-Stokkem. 

Several heavy guns were discovered in the car, including rocket launchers. This is a relief for investigators: it means the man at least didn't take these with him, but he is still armed. The terror alert level for the suspect himself has been lifted to 4 (the highest) by OCAD, but the general terrorist alert level for Belgium remains at 2 on the scale of 4.

Hiding in the natural park 'Hoge Kempen'?

As the manhunt proved fruitless, the judicial authorities issued an official search warrant for the man. They also call on him to turn himself in. The natural park 'Hoge Kempen' in Limburg has been closed as there are suspicions that he may be hiding there.   

"The big question is how a person who is on the OCAD list of possible terrorists and who uttered threats in the past, could still have access to heavy weapons", PM Alexander De Croo said. "I will ask more explanation about that." 

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