Belgium: Body of fugitive far-right soldier apparently found

International

FILE – In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, Belgian military ride in a convoy at the entrance of the National Park Hoge Kempen during a manhunt for an armed soldier in Maasmechelen, Belgium. Belgian police say the body of a fugitive far-right soldier who was the target of a huge manhunt appears to have been found Sunday, June 21 in a wooded area. Hundreds of specialized security forces deployed after the disappearance May 17 of Jurgen Conings, who was on an anti-terrorism watch list because of extreme-right sympathies and had hoarded heavy weaponry.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco, file)

PARIS (AP) — Belgian police say the body of a fugitive far-right soldier who was the target of a huge manhunt appears to have been found Sunday.

Hundreds of security forces scoured a swath of northeast Belgium after the May 17 disappearance of Jurgen Conings, who was on an anti-terrorism watch list, had threatened a top virologist involved in the country’s COVID-19 program and had hoarded heavy weaponry.

A body was found Sunday by people walking in the woods near the town of Dilsen-Stockem. Initial evidence indicates it is Conings and that he killed himself, but further examination is underway, Belgian federal police said in a statement.

Conings, 46, had hidden anti-tank missile launchers and other heavy arms in an army barracks before disappearing. He had threatened several people in recent months, including the virologist, and landed on the federal anti-terrorism watch list in February.

Conings had a three-decade career behind him as an expert marksman before he started making threats and racist remarks on Facebook. He was handed disciplinary sanctions but still allowed to work with weapons.

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