German authorities have launched an investigation into accusations that a group of army reservists was allegedly planning to kill migrants, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday.
The public prosecutor's office in the northern city of Lueneburg suspects that a military sports group comprised of former paratroopers and reservists from the state of Lower Saxony wanted to murder migrants.
Jens G., a lieutenant colonel in the reserve, is said to have organized the military sports exercises.
The Lueneburg public prosecutor's office is investigating nine suspects between the ages of 37 and 53 on charges of having joined or commanded an armed group.
An unnamed spokesperson for the prosecutor's office confirmed to Der Spiegel that there was "an initial suspicion that a xenophobic motivation could have guided (their) action."
Last month, investigators raided eight properties in several states – Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin – seizing weapons, ammunition and material that would suggest far-right sentiments on the part of the reservist group.
A spokesperson for Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that the ministry was following an unyielding line on the subject of right-wing extremism.
"We are investigating every single case at full speed because extremists have no place in the Bundeswehr or in the ministry," he added.
Germany's military and police apparatus has faced a series of far-right incidents in recent years.
In January 2020, German military intelligence reported there were almost 600 suspected right-wing extremists in the army. They said the country's elite anti-terror unit KSK was seen as a major problem, with 20 members suspected of being far-right supporters.
In 2017, inspections were conducted in all German military bases after Nazi-era memorabilia was discovered at two of them. Many of those accused of far-right ties are believed to be sympathetic to the anti-migrant opposition party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
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