Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told Het Laatste Nieuws that Belgium has entered a new phase of "narco-terrorism" after an attempt to kidnap him was foiled.
Van Quickenborne has been placed in an undisclosed "safe house" with his wife and two children after a car containing firearms was discovered outside his house in Kortrijk last week.
Four Dutch suspects linked to the drug scene have been arrested as a result and the kidnapping is thought to be drug-related given Van Quickenborne's key role in Belgium's fight against drug violence.
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According to the minister, the kidnapping shows that narco-criminals are now attempting to "destabilise our society by instilling fear within the police and the judicial system."
On that point, the mayor of Brussels Philippe Close told Bel-RTL that "they (the drug gangs) are responding because we are hurting them" by attempting to attack the minister and his family.
Van Quickenborne is unsure how long he will have to stay in the safe house but expects to be under police surveillance for an extended period of time.