Germany arrests second soldier in far-right plot

2017-05-09 18:16
(Michael Sohn, AP)

(Michael Sohn, AP)

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Berlin - German authorities arrested a second soldier on Tuesday on allegations he was part of a far-right plot to assassinate prominent political figures and blame the attack on refugees in a case that has raised concerns about extremism within the country's military.

Maximilian T, 27, was arrested in the southwestern city of Kehl on charges of preparing an act of violence, said federal prosecutor's spokesperson Frauke Koehler.

His apprehension follows the arrest in April of 28-year-old Lt Franco A, a Bundeswehr soldier stationed with a Franco-German brigade in Illkirch, just across the border from Kehl in France.

Their last names weren't released in line with privacy laws.

In a case authorities have called "more than strange", Lt Franco is alleged to have managed to pass himself off as a Syrian refugee in the state of Hesse at the end of 2015 and be granted a place at a home for asylum-seekers, as well as state financial aid for migrants.

Though stationed with the Bundeswehr in France, he lived sporadically at the refugee home and Maximilian is alleged to have covered him, at times, when he was absent from the barracks, prosecutors said.

Asylum seekers

Lt Franco came to the attention of authorities after he was arrested in February while going to retrieve a pistol he'd stashed in a Vienna airport bathroom.

He was freed, but Austrian authorities informed Germany and when the soldier's fingerprint matched the one he'd given when he registered as a refugee, it triggered the current investigation.

In addition to the two soldiers, a 24-year-old student from Lt Franco's hometown of Offenbach, Matthias F, has also been arrested.

Koehler said the three are believed to have been planning to attack "high-ranking politicians and public figures who, in the eyes of the suspects, engaged in failed refugee policies".

Among others on a list they put together were former German President Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas, she said.

Lt Franco was to carry out the attack under his "fictitious identity" as a Syrian refugee, Koehler said.

"In this way the three suspects wanted to link the attack in Germany to asylum seekers," she said.


Read more on:    germany  |  security  |  migrants

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