Germany seizes more weapons from far-right extremists

Published 30.09.2019 00:11

German police seized 61% more weapons during raids on the radical right in 2018 than the previous year, according to a report, citing "massive rearmament" by neo-Nazi groups. Based on Interior Ministry figures requested by the socialist Left party, 1,091 weapons were seized during raids on far-right groups last year. 676 weapons were confiscated in 2017.

Right-wing extremist offenses in Germany rose to 8,605 in the first half of 2019, with an increase of 900 far-right crimes recorded during the same period this year, underscoring ongoing far-right violence.

During this year's attacks, at least 179 people were injured and only 23 people out of 2,625 suspects have been arrested for these far-right offenses. Germany is home to some 12,700 potentially violent far-right radicals, according to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the domestic intelligence agency. A recent Civey poll showed 60% of Germans think the government is "doing too little" to tackle the problem. As support for the far-right has increased over the last four years, German authorities are increasingly concerned over growing right-wing terrorism in the country. A secret report by the BfV revealed in May that right-wing extremists are preparing for "a civil war scenario" by training to use firearms and explosives. Those people are collecting firearms and other supplies in preparation for "a civil war" or "a feared collapse of public order" in the country.

Intelligence services have for years been increasing surveillance of ultra-right groups, which are seen as a growing threat and capable of carrying out terrorist attacks similar to those that left 51 dead at two mosques in New Zealand. The far-right terrorist group known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU) killed eight Turkish immigrants, one Greek citizen and a German police officer between 2000 and 2007, but the murders had long remained unresolved. The loose and diverse far-right scene includes police and army officers, the report also said. German police have been shaken by an investigation into more police officers in the western German state of Hesse in relation to far-right extremist leanings. The German army has also been shaken by a widening scandal over fears of hard-line racist views among soldiers.

Germany, like other Western countries, has watched with alarm as far-right attacks have increased in recent years as the political climate has coarsened and grown more polarized. Regarding the growth of far-right extremism, the risk of becoming a victim of a hate crime is 10 times higher for immigrants residing in cities in eastern Germany, according to another study.

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