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Belgian manhunt for armed far-right suspect enters second month

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By Euronews
Belgian military carry equipment at the entrance of the National Park Hoge Kempen in Maasmechelen.
Belgian military carry equipment at the entrance of the National Park Hoge Kempen in Maasmechelen.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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A manhunt in Belgium for an armed far-right former soldier is still underway and has entered its second month.

46-year-old Jurgen Conings was placed on a terror watchlist in February due to his extreme right-wing politics.

On May 17, police launched a search for Conings after he seized several heavy weapons from an army barracks and disappeared.

The former soldier has threatened several citizens in recent months, including Belgium's senior virologist Marc Van Ranst, who has played a key role in the country's fight against COVID-19.

A dozen people remain under police protection in Belgium, as they are considered possible targets of the armed man, who has been dubbed "Rambo" by Belgian media.

Conings' car was found last month with four missile launchers and ammunition.

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has told MPs that it was "unacceptable" that the suspect had been able to access weapons, while justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has described Conings as an "acute threat".

Hundreds of army officers have been combing through the vast Lanklaarse Steenweg natural park in Niel-bij-As as part of the intense search.

Conings, a former specialist marksman, is wanted by police in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.