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German police find weapons cache linked to right-wing Reichsbürger group

German police have uncovered a weapons stockpile believed to belong to an anti-government extremist who shot a policeman dead. The man, who was detained, is a member of the far-right Reichsbürger movement.

Deutschland Munition und Waffen von «Reichsbürger» gefunden (picture-alliance/dpa/D. Karmann)

Police raided a home in Georgensgmünd earlier this month, with one officer fatally wounded

Bavarian authorities said on Friday that the cache, which contained boxes of ammunition and several firearms, had been found at the side of a road near the city of Nuremberg.

Officials said the arms were found by a passer-by on Monday, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the town of Georgensgmünd, where a police officer was shot dead earlier this month.

The 49-year-old gunman opened fire at police in an October 19 raid on his home, injuring four - one of them fatally.

Symbolbild Reichsbürger (picture-alliance/dpa)

Members of the group often demonstrate an affinity with the Third Reich

Police made the find of weapons public on Friday in an appeal to the public to report suspicious activity they may have seen. The arms were said to have been linked to the man via documentation.

The man, who was taken into custody, was said to be a member of the Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) movement, a disparate group that is made up of a series of smaller extremist groups. Many adherents believe in the continued existence of the Third Reich, although interpretations of history vary among group members. 

The Reichsbürger movement promotes the idea that all German governments since the election of Adolf Hitler as chancellor have been illegitimate, and therefore the movement does not recognize the authority of the state - or its police officers.

Members of the movement also believe that the borders of Germany should be those that existed prior to World War II.

Amid concerns that the group was growing more radical, German intelligence organizations had already placed it under increased surveillance, even before the shooting. The level of surveillance in Bavaria was raised still further in the wake of the officer's death.

rc/sms (AFP, dpa)

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