A soldier was arrested under the charges of conspiring with another army officer who had falsely registered as a refugee from Syria. The prosecutors claim that the soldiers were involved in a ‘right-wing’ plot to assassinate senior public figure and blame the refugees for the attack.
The alleged targets of the attack include former German President Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas.
The affair sparked a controversy about the alleged right-wing extremism in German military. On Sunday, the authorities ordered a inspection of all army barracks after Nazi-era symbols were found at two of them.
On Tuesday, German police detained 27-year-old “Maximilian T” in Kehl, across the Rhine river from the French city of Strasbourg.
“The accused is strongly suspected of planning a severe act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The soldiers was stationed at a barracks in France, together with another man who was arrested arrested in April. Another man, a 24-year old student has also been arrested.
According to the prosecutors, the three “planed at attack against a high-ranking politician or public figure who was supportive of what the accused saw as the failed immigration and refugee affairs policies”
They had drawn up a hit list and acquired a pistol for Franco A to carry out the attack, they said. Maximilian covered up his accomplice’s absences from barracks in pursuit of the plot, prosecutors suspect.
Reacting to the incident, German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen accused the army ‘of an attitude problem’. Her comments provoked criticism, as critics said that she offended all soldiers and smeared the whole army.
“Nobody can understand why the minister, after three and a half years in office, retreats to the stands, so to speak, and sweepingly condemns her own team,” said André Wüstner of the armed forces union, the Bundeswehrverband.
Germany has received the largest number of migrants from the Middle East during the European migrant crisis. Angela Merkel’s policy of open borders has sparked a national debate in Germany about immigration.
Source: BBC News
Photo: REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo
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