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German police probe kidnapping, uncover 'cult'

October 21, 2020

German police searching for a kidnapping victim at a former convent in the western town of Goch say they have found what seems to be a sect. Its self-declared prophet, a Dutch man, has been arrested.

German police at the scene at Goch
Image: Guido Schulmann/dpa/picture-alliance

An apparent cult and its "prophet" have been discovered in a town in Germany's Lower Rhine region during a police investigation of a suspected kidnapping, authorities said on Wednesday.

Police and prosecutors said they found the alleged kidnapping victim, a 25-year-old woman, in a residential building on the premises of a former convent in the town of Goch.

A 58-year-old man from the nearby Netherlands who described himself as the "prophet" of the "Order of the Transformants" was arrested, according to a prosecutors' spokesman.

Read more: German court jails sect leader for murder of 4-year-old

During an operation lasting several hours, police officers came across 54 people on the premises, including children, who appeared to belong to the sect.

A police spokeswoman said no one was injured during the operation and there had been no hostage-taking.

tj/rs (dpa, AFP)