Belgian police have launched a manhunt for a heavily-armed soldier who threatened a virologist supportive of COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions.
Corporal Jurgen Conings, 46 — dubbed the “Rambo” of anti-vaxxers by local media — allegedly swiped four missile launchers, a machine gun and a pistol from his barracks near Limburg on Monday and went into hiding in a nearby forest, according to the Guardian.
Conings — a trained sniper who served in Afghanistan — reportedly a left suicide note to his family fuming that he “could no longer live in a society where politicians and virologists have taken everything away from us,” the outlet reported.
Another note reportedly declared that he “would join the resistance and would not surrender.”
The unhinged soldier had recently threatened and staked out the home of Belgian scientist Marc Van Ranst, who led the country’s coronavirus response to the pandemic, the virologist has said.
Van Ranst was forced into hiding after the incident and Conings was placed on desk duty earlier this year after tweeting “Who has Van Ranst’s address?” according to the Guardian.
More than 250 special force troops on Wednesday were deployed to the Hoge Kempen forest near the Dutch border with helicopters on standby to search for the Conings, The Times of London reported.
Army sources this week called Connings “an extreme right-wing weapons nut who does not shy away from violence” and “an antivaxer who hates Van Ranst,” according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said it was “unacceptable” that Conings had been given access to weapons considering his history.
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