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Arrests made as part of Belgium ASF investigation

15th Feb 2019 / By Alistair Driver

Arrests have been made in connection with the investigation into the discovery of African swine fever (ASF) in Belgium, in September, according to reports.

wild boar 5It is reported in the Belgian news media that searches took place and four people were interviewed last Wednesday as part of the ongoing judicial investigation into the outbreak in wild boar in the country's Luxembourg region. Subsequently two arrests have been made, with the detention of one of the suspects extended by a month, according to the Landbouwleven website

Luxembourg prosecutor's office stressed that all those arrested 'benefit from the presumption of innocence'. The Public Service of Wallonia (SPW) indicated that an official of the Department of Nature and Forests (DNF) was among those arrested.

The reason for the arrests have not been made public, but the Belgium media is linking it to the suspicion that infected wild boars were imported from Eastern Europe in the spring of 2018. 

The Walloon Minister of Nature and Forestry, René Collin, said he had no further information at this stage. "The judge conducts his investigation in complete independence. It goes without saying that measures will be taken if wrongdoing has been committed and With the greatest firmness, for the time being, the presumption of innocence must be respected, " he said in a statement. 

More than 450 cases of ASF have been confirmed in wild boar since September, with new cases still emerging at a worrying rate, including some very close to the French border, putting France on high alert and prompting various control measures, including a wild boar cull.