The Belgian army has put a dozen soldiers under surveillance because of their Salafist convictions and to ensure their loyalty to the country, reveals “La Libre Belgique” on Wednesday. The surveillance is conducted by military intelligence, the Service général du renseignement et de la sécurité (SGRS) [General intelligence and security service], and the Sûreté de l’Etat [state police]. In some cases, the checks have been effective, but in others candidates who are well known in Islamist milieux escaped the vigilance of the recruiters.
The army fears infiltrations and worries about training islamists whose objective is to conduct jihad abroad. In the worst case, the latter would then, for example, be able to turn against Belgian soldiers in areas like Afghanistan, writes La Libre.
“The problem is that there is no check before training. To get into the army, you just need a clean criminal record. The candidate is interviewed by officials, but nothing more”, explains one of the newspaper’s sources. It is only at the authorisation stage that the monitoring is tighter.