Soldier Goes Missing After Threatening Virologist

Jurgen Conings, 46, of Belgium has ties to the extreme right and is heavily armed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2021 1:02 PM CDT
Soldier Goes Missing After Threatening Virologist
In this photo provided by the Belgian Federal Police on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, an undated photo of Jurgen Conings. Authorities in Belgium are searching a second day for an armed man who is on a terror watch list because of his extreme right sympathies and who had threatened several people.   (Belgian Federal Police via AP)

A soldier with ties to the extreme right went missing in Belgium on Monday, and he took a cache of weapons with him. Police say Jurgen Conings, 46, removed four rocket launchers, a submachine gun, a pistol, and a bulletproof vest from his barracks, and while police on Tuesday night found his Audi, they have yet to find Conings. "The most worrying weapons"—apparently the rocket launchers—"were found in the car," officials say, per the Guardian, but the level of concern remains high: Reuters reports he was last seen Monday morning at his home near the Dutch border, and Conings' girlfriend turned over two suicide letters she found at his home. They said life wasn't worth living "in such a society ruled by politicians and virologists" and that he would "join the resistance and would not surrender without a fight."

As far as virologists go, Conings is said to have targeted one of them in the past: Marc Van Ranst, who is considered the most high-profile virologist in the country. Conings tweeted a request for Van Ranst’s address earlier this year. He was disciplined and temporarily moved to a desk job. Van Ranst says there is evidence that Conings spent several hours scouting out his town and home; Van Ranst and his family have been moved to another location. The BBC says questions are being asked as to why Conings, a shooting instructor, was given access to weapons even as his support for the extreme right was known. Local media said he allegedly said he needed arms from the Leopoldsburg base to conduct a target practice. Wednesday's search was focused around the 46-square-mile Hoge Kempen national park. (More manhunt stories.)

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