With six different minors arrested since November 2020 for “intending to commit violent acts,” the interim director of Belgium’s anti-terrorist service raised concerns about increasingly radicalised young people.
“The radicalised are getting younger and younger, and that’s a trend to keep an eye on,” Gert Vercauteren, the interim director of Ocad, told De Standaard. “Very often young people are turning up in our files these days, aged 15, 17 or 18.”
Two such teenagers were arrested in Eupen, in the province of Liège.
According to Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne, the minors – said to be between 16 and 18 years old – had already purchased a machete and were planning to buy knives in order to carry out an attack on police.
The various teenagers that authorities have arrested do not all operate in the same group, but rather are independent of each other. They usually discussed their plans for committing acts of violence in closed chat groups.
Security forces were able to intervene before any such acts could occur.
“The investigation is of course still ongoing,” said Vercauteren. “But it is worrying that such phenomena occur among minors.”