Over 25,000 people have joined a Facebook group to support Jürgen Conings, the armed soldier who vanished last Monday and who may have plans for an attack.
Lieutenant-General Marc Thys admits that these include members of the military, but condemned their choice: "Whatever Conings' past record in the army may be, he broke his military oath by doing what he did. He has thrown the values of our organisation overboard. Nothing can justify his acts."
Marc Thys also addresses his own men: "Don't let yourself get carried away by your frustration (...) For those making the comparison with Rambo or Robin Hood: this is not a movie! I understood both movies differently and can't imagine which part of a hero he could play anyway. So don't be a follower, but think about our values and make them become real."
"We are in a shitshow, that's for sure. But giving the wrong support will not improve the situation. For those thinking that racism and death threats do have a place in the army: sorry, you are wrong! Completely wrong!"
Earlier, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden had also condemned the support for Conings on social media: "Those making a hero of Conings, are wrong."
A demonstration in Maasmechelen to support the terror suspect attracted some 200 people.