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Raids target suspects planning attack on leftists

August 28, 2017

Prosecutors say the two men, one of whom was a policeman, were gearing up for a breakdown in public order resulting from the refugee crisis. The searches took place in Germany's northern cities of Rostock and Schwerin.

Deutschland Banzkow - Durchsuchungen bei Anti-Terror-Razzia
Police search a property in the village of Banzkow, near SchwerinImage: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Büttner

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe said Monday's searches stemmed from intercepted chatroom internet conversations involving the two men, who were opposed to what they saw as Germany's misguided policy on asylum.

No arrests were made, but the potential charges were of preparing serious acts of violence endangering the state, said the prosecutor's office.

The two men, one a policeman based in the town of Ludwigslust, allegedly drew up a list of people on Germany's "left-wing spectrum," with the intention of detaining and killing them if a breakdown in public order developed.

Arrivals of asylum seekers peaked in Germany in late 2015 and early 2016 when Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government kept Germany's borders open to "Balkan route" migrants.

The suspects had stashed away foodstuffs and ammunition for weapons they had already acquired via "legal" channels, "fearing" a drain on public funds and increasing disorder, the Karlsruhe-based prosecutors said.

Deutschland Schweriner Schloss
Schwerin authorities have begun disciplinary proceedings against the suspected policemanImage: picture-alliance/D. Kalker

Search included cottage

The German news agency dpa said the premises searched included a brick cottage in Banzkow, a village near Schwerin, the capital of the regional state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Also searched was a Rostock legal firm and the lawyer's home in an outlying suburb. Searches had also reportedly taken place in the towns of Zittow and Grabow in the Ludwigslust-Parchim county, south of Schwerin, dpa said.

Policeman also facing disciplinary proceedings

Disciplinary proceedings had also been initiated against the suspected policeman, said the state Interior Ministry in Schwerin. 

It added said premises had also been searched of persons who were not regarded as suspects, including a second police officer. 

The searches had been carried out solely by staff of the federal BKA investigations bureau and federal police, it said.

The federal prosecutions office said the searches were aimed at determining objective details.

Danger acute, says Left spokesman

The interior affairs spokesman of the Left party group in the Schwerin parliament, Peter Ritter, called on the regional interior minister, Lorenz Caffier of Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party branch, to brief the assembly's interior affairs committee on what he termed right-wing terrorist ambitions in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. 

"Jamel rockt den Förster" - Ehepaar Birgit und Horst Lohmeyer 2016
Resisting the far-right: artists Birgit and Horst Lohmeyer in Jamel before the remains of their burnt-out barn. Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Heimken

Ritter on Monday described the danger posed by the far-right extremists in northeastern Germany as acute.

The region's domestic intelligence agency has estimated that in 2015 there were 1,450 right-wing extremists in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Of these, 680 were classed as violence-prone. 

The northeastern state is governed by a coalition Cabinet comprising regional Social Democrats led by Premier Manuela Schwesig and the CDU as junior partner, with Caffier also as deputy premier. 

ipj/kms (Reuters, dpa)