In April a 13 year old boy was violently kidnapped near the city of Genk in Belgium. Heavily armed, they broke into the family home and forcibly took the child with them attempting to get a €5 million ransom.
After 42 days in captivity the boy was finally released shortly after midnight on 1 June with police retrieving the boy safely in exchange of a €330 000 ransom payment. Immediately after, an operation was launched in which 7 suspects were arrested.
It is feared that the ransom money will be used to finance terrorism.
A notorious terrorist convict is among the seven suspects arrested for the kidnapping of the boy. Khalid Bouloudo who has been convicted twice for terrorism in one of the arrested.
He has been identified as a key figure in the creation of a Belgian division of the Moroccan terror cell GICM which is linked to the 2003 bombing of Casablanca and 2004 bombing in Madrid.
In 2015 he was jailed for 10 years after being accused of radicalizing and recruiting people to fight with ISIS in Syria. After appeal, his sentence was reduced to 3 years with parole, meaning he has only been out of prison a little while before the kidnapping took place.
“How is it possible that someone is paroled and yet can gather weapons, form a gang and commit such offences? Surely he should be kept under surveillance?” said Kristien Van Vaerenbergh, an MP for the nationalist N-VA party.
According to media reports, the 13 year old boy’s father has served jail time for drug trafficking, and his uncle is serving a 15 year prison sentence for the same offence. The uncle has been identified as a major figure in the European drug trafficking network.