Belgian federal prosecutors confirmed on Monday that police have detained 16 people during raids conducted nationwide on alleged Chechen militant groups.
A statement released by the prosecutor's office outlined that the 16 were detained in 21 different raids and that some of the arrested are suspected to have travelled to Syria to train or fight.
The statement said police conducted raids in Ostend, Bredene, Antwerp, Jabbeke, Louvain and Namur concurrently due to the targeted suspected groups “were linked to each other.”
It also emphasised that “several people mentioned in the case had probably been active in Syria, especially in the area of Aleppo and probably took part in the fighting.”
According to the statement, the investigation was first launched by police in February after there were suspicions of a person from Ostend “was wounded” allegedly after fighting in Syria and “returned to Belgium in order to receive medical care.”
Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel who elevated the efforts of the police and courts stated that: “Once again showed the full mobilisation and determination of the authorities to fight terrorism without let-up.”
The statement of the prosecutor's office also added that, “The investigators worked closely with US authorities in order to be able to check communications from WhatsApp,” which was allegedly used by the suspects and has aided to gain relevant information.