Belgian soldier found dead after five-week manhunt
A Belgian soldier and right-wing extremist whose disappearance sparked a five-week cross-border manhunt involving Luxembourg special forces has been found dead in an apparent suicide.
A body found on Sunday in woodlands close to the Dilserbos, a forest area of the Hoge Kempen National Park near Dilsen-Stokkem in eastern Belgium, was that of Jürgen Conings, the country's defence minister Ludivine Dedonder and head of armed forces, Michel Hofman, said in a joint statement.
The cause of death is yet to be confirmed, but initial investigations indicate that the "probable cause...is suicide by firearm", the Belgian public prosecutor's office said in a statement on Sunday.
Conings, a 46-year-old soldier, went into hiding in mid-May after threatening a well-known Belgian virologist, Marc Van Ranst. It was feared that he was planning to launch attacks on government buildings or public representatives.
Hundreds of soldiers, armoured vehicles and helicopters - including units from Luxembourg and Interpol - were drafted in to find the missing soldier, who due to his extremist right-wing views had been among a list of names being monitored by the Belgian anti-terrorism agency Ocam.
Due to his status in the military, Conings had direct access to a cache of weapons. His car contained four anti-tank rocket launchers and ammunition when it was found abandoned just days after he disappeared.