His girlfriend may know him as a ‘cuddly bear’, but Jürgen Conings (46) was less known to the Belgian intelligence service. The corporal, who went for heavy weapons, holed up in Hoge Kempen National Park and is wanted because he threatened to attack Belgian politicians and virologists (’the regime‘, in his words) was listed as a ’potentially violent extremist’.
According to the Belgian anti-terrorist organisation Ocad, it is someone with extreme views who has the intention to use violence on its behalf but who has not yet taken concrete steps in this direction. The latter was now feared given the suicide note Conings left.
The extreme views of the most sought after Man in Belgium are rooted in the extreme right-wing thinking. On his Facebook profile, Conings is said to have recently purchased the runic sign used by the German SS. Belgian media report contacts with Tomas Boutens, another ex-military and notorious Belgian neo-Nazi. He was once convicted of plans to assassinate a number of prominent Belgians, in order to turn immigrants and natives against each other.
Conings ‘ acquaintances often describe the super-fit resident of Dilsen-Stokkem (near Sittard on the Flemish side of the Meuse) as ‘an ordinary boy’, trained as a welder and tattooed on his chest with a logo of football club Anderlecht. At the age of 18, he joined the Belgian Army. He made his career and took part in missions in the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Conings describes himself as an experienced sniper specializing in camouflage techniques. He then shares the latter with the deranged film hero Rambo of whom he has some traits. Rambo, trained in survival techniques, had problems with the authorities and also had a large police force in the Washington state forests.
According to reports, the foreign military missions also left traces at Conings, at least as Tomas Boutens suggested on Facebook. ’ Out of respect for his privacy, it is not necessary to go into detail‘, boutens believes, who is described in the newspaper De Standaard as’the guru of the extreme right in Flanders’.
Conings, who has two children from a previous marriage, had problems and extreme views. That led to him losing his career in the army. In the end, he became not the gun instructor he wanted to be, but someone who prepared the weapons for target practice. Thus he easily acquired the Arsenal with which he has entrenched himself in the forests of Belgian Limburg.
The Belgian minister of Defence, Ludivine Dedonder, has become a study carried out on how it would be possible that a person with the mark of a “potentially violent extremist” normally, access to the variety of the Belgian army, where he was unopposed to four rocket launchers, a machine gun, a pistol, and in 2000 the balls to take it. Conings had previously received a disciplinary penalty for openly threatening the Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst.
Girlfriend and primary school teacher Gwendy (46) describes everything that happens now as a nightmare from which she does not wake up. ‘This is not my Jürgen, not the dear friend who is such a good daddy to our children’’ Wendy would now assist the Flemish police in the search in the forest, hoping that he would surrender.