Belgium: Apparently, Body of Fugitive Far-Right Soldier Found

PARIS (AP) -
In this May 21 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. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, file)

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 antiterrorism 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 antitank 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 antiterrorism 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 social media. He was handed disciplinary sanctions but still allowed to work with weapons.