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Germany: Far-right group planned attacks, abductions

April 14, 2022

Police have arrested four people suspected of involvement in plans to abduct the health minister and carry out bomb attacks. They say the group aimed to create "a civil war-like" situation to topple democracy in Germany.

Far-right demonstration in Berlin with the flag of the German Reich.
Those arrested are reported to have links to Germany's 'Reichsbürger' movementImage: Fabian Sommer/dpa/picture alliance

Investigators in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said on Thursday they had arrested four members of a right-wing extremist chat group that was seeking to bring down Germany's democracy.

Those arrested were German nationals linked to the COVID-denier protest scene and the "Reichsbürger" movement, the investigators said.

What was the group?

State prosecutors in Koblenz and the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Mainz said that a group calling itself the "Vereinte Patrioten" (United Patriots) planned bomb attacks on Germany's energy infrastructure.

One other alleged plan by the group was also to abduct Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, among other public figures. He was said to have been informed of the plan.

They said the group figured that such actions would enable the toppling of Germany's elected government and ultimately its democratic system.

Karl Lauterbach with Lothar H. Wieler from RKI
Lauterbach's policies to curb the pandemic have drawn ire from COVID-deniersImage: Jens Schicke/IMAGO

What did investigators find?

A number of weapons, including a Kalashnikov rifle, ammunition, cash and gold and silver ingots were confiscated during nationwide raids on Wednesday, they said.

Police and prosecutors also collected mobile phones, data storage systems, computers, written documents pertaining to the group's plans and forged coronavirus vaccination and test certificates.

Wednesday's arrests come just one week after a massive nationwide police operation led to the arrests of four key individuals.

Some 800 police raided 60 locations tied to the neo-Nazi groups "Atomwaffen Division" (AWD), "Combat 18" (C18) and "Knockout 51" (K51).

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tj,js/rs (AFP, dpa)