Schools & public buildings in Belgium’s Waregem on LOCKDOWN over reports of armed man (VIDEO)

Police in the Belgian city of Waregem have told some 12,000 locals to stay indoors, while schools and public buildings have been put on lockdown as they search for an armed man.

Footage circulating online purportedly shows a member of an armed response unit bearing a sniper rifle on the roof of a school building.

On Thursday the city of Waregem went into lockdown as police hunted for a possible armed assailant. According to local reports, an armed 18-year-old man known to police was seen alighting from a bus close to the grounds of the Vives University of Applied Sciences in Kortrijk in the morning, but made no threats. The university was evacuated over the reports.

Four secondary schools and three primary schools have gone into lockdown while the police operation is ongoing. An official Twitter account for the city posted a message around 4pm local time to tell people not to come to schools in the area but that everyone in the schools “are well”. A temporary shelter has been set up for parents who are already close by.

A number of public buildings are also in lockdown, including the town hall and the art academy.

“We can’t leave anything to chance,” said Waregem’s mayor, Kurt Vanryckeghem. “That is why we have locked the schools. The police are standing by. There is absolutely no need to panic. It is a preventive measure.”

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