An 71-year-old mayor of a Belgian town has been found dead in a cemetery with his throat slashed.

Alfred Gadenne, the mayor of Mouscron in western , was found dead early on Monday evening. His throat is believed to have been cut with a box cutter.

Belgian authorities are questioning an 18-year-old man suspected of killing the elderly mayor.

According to Frederic Bariseau, a spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office, police had received a phone call just before 8pm about the attack, from a person who claimed to be the killer.

Police and ambulance workers arrived at the scene to find the mayor’s body and the teenager, who was acting “very calm” and had a box cutter.

“He identified himself as the caller. He presented himself to police and offered no resistance. He was standing in front of the cemetery waiting for police,” Mr Bariseau said.

According sources and the suspect’s lawyer, the teenager told police he had been avenging his father, who killed himself two years ago after losing his job as a local council employee, public broadcaster RTBF reported.

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Mr Gadenne had been mayor of the town for a decade and his death prompted tributes from across the national political spectrum.

“I have learned with horror of the brutal death of Alfred Gadenne,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Twitter. “All my thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Flowers have been left at the cemetery gates for Mr Gadenne and many have visited the town hall to sign a book of condolences.

Additional reporting by agencies 

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