Belgian Authorities Hunt for Heavily Armed AWOL Soldier who Threatened Virologist

Belgian police and special forces are on a manhunt for a heavily armed AWOL soldier who allegedly threatened a prominent virologist-government adviser.

The Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office identified the suspect as Jurgen Conings, 46, and said that he went missing after taking at least one rocket launcher, a submachine gun, a smaller pistol, and a bulletproof vest from his barracks on Monday, May 17.

Coning’s girlfriend was the one who alerted the army after she discovered two suicide letters to friends and family at the soldier’s  home in Lanklaar which said he no longer wished to live “in such a society ruled by politicians and virologists.”

Conings was found to have threatened Marc Van Ranst, a virologist and government adviser, and asked for his address on social media. 

Van Ranst was taken to a police safe house after Conings’ disappearance in case he would actually be targeted. 

Conings was revealed to be a corporal who served in Afghanistan and was a shooting instructor who had links to far-right groups. 

Belgian police were instructed to be on alert and were warned that Conings had threatened to use his guns against the police and that he would not be taken alive. 

Belgian special forces and police have searched Dilserbos forest, near Dilsen in Limburg, after Conings’ car was found but have not yet made any progress. 

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