German Politicians Demand Clarification on Kosovo Bombing | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.11.2008
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German Politicians Demand Clarification on Kosovo Bombing

German politicians want an explanation on the alleged involvement of German secret agents in bombing a European Union office in Kosovo.

Symbol of a spy

The allegations against the three men are under investigation

Three German men remain in prison in Kosovo, suspected of being involved in a bomb attack against a European Union office in Kosovo. Yet many unanswered questions about the incident remain, including whether the men belonged to Germany's Federal Intelligence Agency (BND).

Max Stadler of the Free Democratic Party told the Berliner Zeitung that he wanted a meeting of the parliamentary committee tasked with overseeing the BND.

"I expect the government and the heads of the BND to inform the members of parliament," Stadler told the newspaper in an interview published Monday, Nov. 24. "I want to know if the arrestees are BND employees."

Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said Monday that the suspects were not registered as intelligence agents.

"I have no information on their accreditation. They could have entered Kosovo in a private capacity," he said, declining to comment further while the investigation is in process.

Suspects remain jailed

Kosovo's flag

The three men have denied the allegations leveled against them, according to media reports

Lawyers of the men said prosecutors were trying to link their clients to "acts of terrorism," punishable with up to 20 years in prison.

"Three German citizens suspected for the explosion... have to stay one month in detention" the Daily Express reported Sunday according to AFP news agency.

The Kosovar paper added that the Germans were "suspected of conducting a criminal act of terrorism."

Attorney Adem Ademi told Germany's DPA news agency in Pristina that "some documents" identifying the suspects as BND agents BND "were found and presented as evidence," but he expressed doubts about the documents' authenticity.

Asked whether the prosecutor identified the arrested Germans as members of the BND, Ademi said: "They are suspected of being members of secret services, but they haven't said explicitly which one."

Kosovo and German media reports have claimed the suspects were working for the BND. Berlin officials have not commented on the allegations.

Pristina power struggle

German terrorism and security expert Elmar Thevessen told DW-RADIO that problems within Kosovo's government might be responsible for the detention. While some within the government support an EU mission that's due to assume oversight of law-enforcement in Kosovo after more than eight years as a United Nations protectorate, others reject it.

"It looks to me that it is a matter of political intrigue within Kosovo," he said. "It doesn't make any sense at all for the German intelligence service to get involved in a bomb going off in an office of the European Union. As a matter of fact the German government has been known to be one of the biggest supporters of that mission."

Thevessen added that BND agents were also investigating organized crime ties to the Kosovo government and that this might be yet another reason why local officials were trying to get rid of them.

Agents claim innocence

Police arrested the three Germans on Wednesday, five days after an explosive device was hurled at the office of the EU's Special Representative for the region. No one was injured in the blast.

The three Germans said they were inspecting damage done by the bomb blast and were not involved in the attack, according to German media reports.

German mass-tabloid Bild reported Sunday that the bomb attack had been the work of an anti-EU faction of Kosovars.

Anti-EU faction in charge?

The paper said German foreign ministry officials on Friday had won an assurance from the Kosovo government that there would be no objection to releasing the trio arrested two days earlier.

But the faction opposed to European Union supervision of the new state won the upper hand on Saturday, when the men were committed to custody.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February and Pristina, Belgrade, the UN and EU are currently wrangling over the conditions for the deployment of the EU mission, Eulex, comprising 2,000 police, judicial and customs officials.

More than 50 states, including the United States and most EU members, have since recognized Kosovo.

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