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Police have found the belongings of a missing associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at sea in northern Norway more than three weeks after he disappeared.
Arjen Kamphuis, 47, has been missing since August 20, when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe, where he had been on holiday.
He had been due to fly home to Amsterdam two days later, but never made his flight.
The Dutch cybersecurity expert’s belongings were found by a man out fishing on Tuesday in an area to the east of Bodoe.
The objects were found near Kvaenflaget, some 30 miles east of Bodo, in the waters of a fjord. Police and emergency crews have now begun searching the water and land in the area.
WikiLeaks associate Arjen Kamphuis (pictured) has been missing since August 20, when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe, where he had been on holiday
Police confirmed the items ‘belong to the missing person’ but provided no details about them due to the ongoing investigation.
‘Due to the ongoing investigation the police do not at this time wish to release any information about which specific items that have been found,’ Norwegian police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Investigators searched the area with assistance from local Red Cross and a rescue vessel.
The disappearance, described as ‘strange’ by WikiLeaks, has sparked numerous conspiracy theories on social media.
WikiLeaks has previously said he had a ticket for a flight on August 22 departing from Trondheim, a town located more than 700km south of Bodo, but he did not board the plane.
‘The train between the two takes (approximately) 10 hours, suggesting he disappeared either in Bodo, Trondheim or on the train,’ the organisation tweeted.
Police are asking the public for any information about his movements in the area.
The Dutch cybersecurity expert’s belongings were found by a man out fishing on Tuesday in an area to the east of Bodoe. Pictured, a missing person’s poster about Kamphuis
They have previously said there was no indication as to whether Kamphuis was the victim of a criminal act.
Now, police said they were examining three theories: a voluntary disappearance including a possible suicide, an accident, or a crime.
‘We haven’t made enough progress in the case to be able to eliminate or confirm any of these three theories,’ inspector Bjarte Walla told AFP. ‘We are keeping all options open.’
A friend of Kamphuis, Ancilla van de Leest, told AFP there were ‘absolutely no signs he wanted to disappear.’
‘Quite the contrary, he made many plans, privately and professionally.’
According to investigators, the Dutchman is believed to have taken a train from Bodo to the town of Rognan on August 20.
The cybersecurity expert’s disappearance, described as ‘strange’ by WikiLeaks, has sparked numerous conspiracy theories on social media
Adding to the mystery, a phone linked to Kamphuis sent a signal in an area near the southwestern city of Stavanger, located 1,600km from Bodo, late on August 30, police said.
But they could not confirm if it was Kamphuis who had switched the phone on. German and Dutch SIM cards were used that day.
Two Dutch investigators have been in Norway since Monday to assist in the search for Kamphuis, who in photos circulating on social networks can be seen wearing glasses with half-long blond hair and a thin beard.
Van de Leest said the ties between Kamphuis and WikiLeaks have been ‘strongly overblown in the press.’
‘He helps organisations with infosecurity advice,’ his friend said.
Kamphuis is best known for his book titled Information Security for Journalists, which gives writers tips on how to keep their work safe from spying.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in May last year) has been holed up at Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012