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Flemish university in lockdown after reports of armed man

Credit: Belga

The Kortrijk campus of the Vives university college in the West-Flanders province is currently in lockdown, following reports of an armed man that the police received.

At the moment, campus Kortrijk is completely in lockdown, Vives announced on its social media channels.

“We are looking for 1 person. Please stay inside. If you are not on campus yet, stay home. Keep an eye on our socials for news. Stay safe.”

“All classes in Kortrijk Campus are suspended for the day,” the college announced.

“A bus passenger informed the police that he had seen an armed young man get off the bus at the college and go towards the school buildings,” Joris Hindryckx, general director of Vives college told De Standaard. “He is said to be dangerous and unstable and is known to the police.”

In the meantime, the police and the public prosecutor’s office have announced that the identity of the suspect is indeed known and that there is no threat.

The special intervention teams of the federal police are now also on-site to assist with the search operation, say the local police.

A photo of a bald man with a gun on the campus started circulating on social media, but Vives and the local police have both clarified that this is a police officer, not the man who is being searched.

Heavily armed police and regular patrols are present on the college premises, according to reports in local media.

The buildings are being searched. Until it is certain that the danger has passed, all students must remain in their classrooms.

“Currently, our police services are searching for a suspicious man on the Vives campus in Kortrijk,” the local police zone VLAS announced on Twitter. “The buildings are being evacuated.”

A total of 12,000 students attend classes in the five Vives buildings in Kortrijk, but not all of them are present at the moment.

As of 11:20 AM, Vives announced that everyone is safe, but that it may take some time before the whole campus was searched. The police escorted all students outside the security perimeter around the campus.

“Call your family to say you are okay,” the college tweeted. “Everyone is free to go home after evacuation. Is your car in the parking lot? Please be patient.”

Update: The police suspect that the man moved to the nearby municipality of Waregem. The latest information can be found here.

Update: Around 6:00 PM, the police announced that the suspected armed man was arrested. More information can be found here.

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