A 13-year-old Belgian boy who was kidnapped and held hostage for a €5 million ransom by well-known ISIS radicals is now safe after a police raid, according to Belgian police authorities.
A Belgian special police unit freed the boy on Monday after he was in captivity for 42 days, according to Belgian news portal HLN. Police say the Muslim radicals initially broke into the house on April 20 and took the boy hostage. They were masked, heavily armed, and arrived with a stolen vehicle.
Seven suspects, who are already in pre-trial detention, were allegedly involved with kidnapping the boy from the town of Genk. They were all questioned until 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
One of those arrested in the raid is Khalid Bouloudo, who is one of Belgium’s most well-known Muslim extremists and a Jihadist recruiter from Maaseik (Limburg). Bouloudo has been convicted for a range of terrorist offenses in Belgium and was sentenced to 5 years in prison 2006 for terrorism charges.
One suspect, a 36-year-old man from Antwerp, was released under the condition that he does not leave the country, adheres to an evening curfew, and does not meet with any other suspects in the case or the victim or his family.
The heavily armed supporters of ISIS broke into the family house on the evening of April 20. The perpetrators then demanded the ransom from the child’s father, who is a suspected drug dealer.
Approximately 100 law enforcement officers worked on the case, including police from France, the Netherlands, and the United States.
The press earlier linked the kidnapping to drugs as the father of the boy has been convicted for drug-related crimes. One of the theories claims that the perpetrators thought that the family was well of thanks to its drug dealing activities, which is also why they demanded such a high ransom.
Fortunately, the boy is said to be well, given the circumstances.
All seven suspects will appear before magistrates on Friday in the Belgian town of Tongeren.
Title image: Undated photo of chief suspect Khalid Bouloudo.