They said the boy had head wounds and had been taken to the hospital. The wounds were not life-threatening, police said.
Authorities mobilised a massive search on Saturday after the boy’s mother reported him missing, near a city where two young girls were abducted and killed last month. The boy had gone out to play with a friend near his mother’s house in Verviers.
The killing of the two girls had raised fears that the boy could suffer a similar fate. Police said it was too early to say how the boy was abducted or by whom.
Media reported that a farmer called police after spotting the boy in his field, nine kilometres outside of Verviers, a town just east of Liege, where stepsisters Nathalie Mahy, aged seven, and 11-year-old Stacy Lemmens were kidnapped. Their bodies were later found in a storm sewer.
Police have charged Abdallah Aid Oud with the girls’ abduction. He denies any involvement.
He has not been charged with murder, leading some to speculate that police do not have evidence linking him to the girls’ deaths and the real killer is still at large.