Jonas Roosens

New search operation in national park 'Hoge Kempen' to find soldier on the run Jürgen Conings

Police are carrying out a new search operation to find terror suspect Jürgen Conings, the member of the armed forces who vanished over a week ago after uttering threats against the government and virologists. The man is armed and may be dangerous. The search involves about 400 members of the armed forces and the police. 

Since he vanished on Monday last week, there has been no trace of Jürgen Conings, despite a massive effort to find him by members of the police and the armed forces, even with some help from abroad. 

A sweeping was carried out in a part of the national park last week. Today's effort is concentrating on a different area a little more to the north and involves three locations. It's a different kind of search this time, focusing more on certain spots instead of the complete area. 

We have no indications that Jürgen Conings would be dead

The unit for missing persons is also helping out and sharing its expertise, but spokeswoman Wenke Roggen of the federal judicial authorities said that this does not imply that they assume Jürgen Conings is dead: "We have no indications that he would have died. We assume he is still alive." 

Some 400 members of the police and armed forces are taking part in today's operation. It is not clear whether investigators have received new tips, or whether they are trying to rule out older options. 

The 'Hoge Kempen' is Belgium's oldest national park and covers over 120 square kilometres at present. Detectives earlier said they don't rule out any option: Jürgen Conings may have received help from others, or he may be hiding in a completely different place. It's also possible that he is no longer alive after committing suicide. 

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