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Germany: Far-right extremist arrested over fatal 1991 attack

April 4, 2022

After uncovering new leads in the 30-year-old cold case, prosecutors say the suspect was inspired by racist violence. He killed one man and injured two others in an arson attack on a refugee home.

Demonstration for Samuel Yeboah in Saarlouis on in September 2021
A march was held in honor of murder victim Samuel Yeboah on the anniversary of the attack last yearImage: BeckerBredel/IMAGO

Federal prosecutors in Germany announced on Monday that they had arrested a right-wing extremist over a 1991 arson attack on a home for refugees that left one person dead and two injured.

The suspect was named only as Peter S. following German privacy laws. He is accused of murder, attempted murder, and arson leading to death. 

In January, German investigators announced that they had uncovered new leads in the 30-year-old cold case and believed it was the work of an extremist.

What is known about the crime?

According to prosecutors, Peter S., now 49, spent the evening of September 18, 1991, with other acquaintances in the far-right scene in his small western town of Saarlouis.

The group is said to have discussed a spate of racist attacks in the eastern German town of Hoyerswerda and that someone should carry out similar crimes in their town.

Archival photo showing damage at the burned hostel-turned-refugee-residence in Saarlouis
Police photos show the damage to the hostel-turned-refugee-residence in SaarlouisImage: Landespolizeipräsidium Saarland

Immediately afterward, officials say, the suspect went to a residence for asylum-seekers in Saarlouis, poured gasoline on the stairs and set it alight.

The fire spread rapidly, causing two residents to break bones as they jumped out of windows.

Another 18 residents escaped unharmed, but 27-year-old Samuel Yeboah of Ghana, who was asleep at the time, suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation, dying in the hospital a few hours later.

es/wmr (AP, AFP)