Photo: flickr user: isafmedia
GERMAN PROSECUTORS have promised to widen their investigations into a dangerous neo-Nazi group after formally arresting two people involved in the group – including one of its alleged co-founders.The founder, known only as ‘Beate Z’, turned herself into police last week but has refused to assist police with their inquiries into the group, which refers to itself as the ‘Nationalist Socialist Underground’.
The group’s name is an obvious nod to its political allegiance – with the first two words echoing the formal name of Adolf Hitler’s ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party’.
AP reports that the arrested woman is suspected of founding the group with two other men, both of whom are now dead.
The two men – Uwe Boehnhardt, 34, and Uwe Mundlos, 38 – committed a double-suicide last week after a botched bank robbery in the south-west German town of Eisenbach.
The pair are thought to have shot each other in the head in a caravan in order to cover their tracks after the failed robbery.
It is reported that Beate then tried to blow up a house used by the group – which was hit by an explosion the same day – but the blast failed to destroy evidence of the group’s involvement in the attempted robbery and a string of other attacks.
Police investigating the wreckage found guns used in the murder of nine immigrants – eight of whom were from Turkey, the other thought to be a Turkish Cypriot – and of a German policewoman.
They also found a 15-minute DVD made by the group which was intended to be distributed to the media and to Isliamic terror cells.
Attacks on kebab stalls
A fourth individual, a 37-year-old man, was arrested yesterday in Hanover in connection with the group – while the German public has shown fury at how the group’s evidently elaborate plans had gone undetected by police for so long.
Among the crimes claimed by the group were a 2004 nailbomb attack in Cologne’s Turkish district, and an attack on a Düsseldorf train station which was heavily populated by Russian Jews at the time.
Its other victims – most of them the owners of kebab stalls – were shot in cities across the country between 2000 and 2006. It is thought that the group had targeted the businessmen, of Turkish origin, to intimidate the country’s three million-strong Turkish community.
The only German victim of the group, a policewoman, was killed after a 2007 bank raid in Heilbronn, around two hours’ drive from Eisenbach.
Justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger admitted that the information garnered about the group created “a shocking image”, while Angela Merkel told a party conference that Germany needed to say vigilant against attacks from far-right groups.
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