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Manhunt for 'heavily armed' Belgian soldier who threatened top virologist
19 May 2021, 13:48 | Updated: 19 May 2021, 15:38
Belgian special forces and police have launched a manhunt for a heavily armed soldier who has made threats against the country's top virologist and left his barracks with a rocket launcher and other weapons.
Jurgen Conings reportedly took at least one rocket launcher, a P90 submachine gun, a pistol and a bulletproof vest from his barracks on Monday.
Residents were told to stay in their homes near Dilsen in Limburg after the soldier's abandoned Audi Q5 car was found on Tuesday evening containing "the most worrying weapons", the federal prosecutor's office said.
But local media report that the 46-year-old man is still believed to be carrying over 2,000 rounds and enough weapons for "a small war".
Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne described the man, who has served in the army since 1992 and specialises in firearm training, as an “acute threat”.
Jurgen C's girlfriend first rose the alarm when she reportedly found suicide letters stating he no longer wished to live “in such a society ruled by politicians and virologists”.
The soldier, who is said to have extreme right sympathies, has previously made threats against Marc Van Ranst, one of Belgium's top virologists who has worked with the government on lockdown restrictions.
Earlier this year he tweeted: "Who has Van Ranst's address?"
Mr Van Ranst was rushed to a safe house with his family on Tuesday, but has been stoic in the face on the threats.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning the virologist retweeted some of the threats against him, commenting: "Let one thing be clear: such threats do not make an impression on me.”