Belgian army joins hunt for far-right soldier in forest

Belgian army troops continued searching through a forest on Friday (May 21) looking for a heavily armed soldier with far-right views who disappeared this week, according to authorities.

The federal prosecutor said that 46-year-old Jurgen Conings went missing after he had made threats against Belgian institutions and celebrities, but did not give details.

Weapons including anti-tank rocket launchers and ammunition taken from a military base were found in Conings' abandoned car near Dilsen in west Belgium.

The Belgian government said earlier this week that Conings was on a list of potential terrorists due to far-right tendencies.

Local media also linked Conings to a COVID-19 expert who advised the Belgian government during the coronavirus pandemic.

The virologist said that death threats were made against him online and that his family had been moved to a safe house.

Belgium’s defense minister, Ludivine Dedonder, told reporters on Friday that their priority is to find him without any bloodshed.

Speaking to Belga news agency, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo questioned how a person on a security list with extremist views was able to gain access to weapons.