Fugitive on the run after shots fired outside home of Bart De Wever
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    Fugitive on the run after shots fired outside home of Bart De Wever

    Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever © Belga

    A man is being sought by police after shots were fired in an apartment block opposite the home in Deurne in Antwerp of the city’s mayor, Bart De Wever, who is also president of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA.

    The shooting took place around 04.45 on Wednesday morning. The incident was witnessed by a local resident and reported to police. By the time they arrived, the shooter had run off. The target of the shots is not yet clear, but police said they suspect a handgun was used. The marks of four bullets were found by a window in the apartment block.

    Another shooting incident took place in a nearby street, with another four shots fired. No arrests have yet been made. This is the third shooting incident in Antwerp in the past week.

    While there is currently no indication that the mayor was in any way the target of the shooting, the fact that such incidents take place in his local area will be of concern to police, tasked with ensuring his safety.

    Much more likely is that the shootings are connected to the ongoing drugs war in Antwerp, one of the most important cities in Europe for the drugs trade, given the importance of the Port of Antwerp in international shipping.

    Meanwhile De Wever announced via his spokesperson Johan Vermant that he would leave all commentary on the incident to the Antwerp prosecutor’s office. “The mayor did indeed hear shots, but his situation is no different from that of all other Antwerp residents who have had this sort of thing happen in their neighbourhood. He has every confidence in the legal investigation.”

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times