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Police release new photos of former RAF terrorists

Kate Brady
May 19, 2016

German authorities have published new images of former RAF terrorists Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg. The two men are part of a trio, wanted on suspicion of attempted murder and attempted aggravated robbery.

Ex-RAF terrorists
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Staatsanwaltschaft Verden

The images, released by the Lower Saxony state police on Wednesday are part of an ongoing investigation into three former members of the disbanded Red Army Faction (RAF): Ernst-Volker Staub, Burkhard Garweg and Daniela Klette.

"The images were taken this year," prosecutor Marie-Louise Tartz said. Due to the inquiry, she was unable to disclose exactly when and where the photos were taken.

Police described bearded 61-year-old Ernst-Volker Staub, (pictured above, right) as having a "lack of dental hygiene," while 47-year-old Garweg was described as having distinctive features such as a "big nose" and "pointy face."

Authorities warned members of the public to not approach any of the three suspects, as they "might be armed."

The most recent photograph of the third suspect, 57-year-old Klette, dates back to 1988.

'No political motive'

Using DNA found in two vehicles in January, police linked all three suspects to a failed armored car robbery in June 2015. It remains unclear, however, as to whether the same suspects were also responsible for another failed raid on a money courier in mid-May, last year. The perpetrators were forced to leave without their loot on both occasions.

Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg (left to right)
The trio, Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg, are all former members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist groupImage: picture-alliance/dpa/BKA

The trio is also wanted on suspicion of robbing an armored car using automatic rifles and an anti-tank weapon in 1999, stealing more than 1 million Deutschmarks (about 500,000 euros or $545,000).

Having disappeared underground in the 1990s, prosecutors suspect that the perpetrators carried out the raid in a bid to fund their living costs, with no indication of a political motive.

DNA traces also linked the three to an similar attack on a prison in central Germany in 1993.

Waves of terrorism

The left-extremist RAF grew out of the radical student movement in the 1960s. Its earliest incarnation was the so-called Baader-Meinhof Gang, which formed in 1970. Among the group's targets were US troops in Germany, which they terrorized in protest of the Vietnam War. Its founders were captured in 1972, which spawned a "second generation" of militants.

This second generation unleashed a wave of violence in 1977 that became known as the "German Autumn," in which the group murdered, among others, West Germany's chief federal prosecutor and the chief executive of Dresdner Bank. Many members were caught by police.

RAF terror attack in 1977
West German Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and his driver Wolfgang Goebel were assassinated by the RAF in 1977Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Kurt Strumpf

Disbanded movement

A "third generation" later emerged, targeting top bankers in former West Germany and a privatization chief in communist East Germany. Those responsible for the murders in the late 1980s and early 1990s remain at large.

RAF declared its dissolution in a letter in March 1998, saying: "The city guerilla in the form of the RAF is now history," and commemorating "all those who died all over the world fighting domination."

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