Czech Republic becoming a favorite destination for German neo-Nazis to practice target shooting
German right-wing extremists have been assembling in the Czech Republic in recent years more than once in order to practice target shooting, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported on 30 January, referring to information the German Government has provided in response to a question from the opposition Parliamentary party Die Linke (The Left). According to the DPA, the Czech Republic knows about the neo-Nazis' movements and is collaborating with Germany on the issue.
In addition to visiting the Czech Republic, the right-wing extremists have been gathering at shooting ranges in Bulgaria as well. Jaroslav Ibehej, who is the spokesperson for the National Center to Combat Organized Crime (NCOZ), told the Czech News Agency that his unit is working with the German Police but would not be providing any further information.
According to the German Government, Czech authorities provided German detectives with "a list of German citizens visiting the Czech Republic" last June, among other matters. That list included "records from the visitors' books at different shooting ranges".
The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which carries out tasks associated with domestic counter-intelligence in Germany, searched the automobiles being used by members of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 Deutschland in September 2017 with the aid of special forces units as they returned from the Czech Republic. During that operation a "small amount of munitions" was found, which the authorities confiscated from the extremists.
According to the information provided by the German Government to The Left, they have long known about neo-Nazi visits to shooting ranges in other European countries. Since December 2015, German right-wing extremists have made a total of 12 such "field trips".
The German neo-Nazis do not just assemble abroad, though. According to data from the German Government, since November 2017 security services have recorded a total of five such meetings in Germany itself.
"The vast majority" of these training exercises have taken place at public shooting ranges. The information that the Czech Republic is a favorite destination for trips by German right-wing radicals has been surfacing since 2012.
Police that year performed a raid in Bavaria against a group called Jagdstaffel D.S.T. Its members had traveled to a shooting range in the Czech Republic where, according to the information from the German authorities, they practiced shooting on targets in the form of human figures.
German MP Martina Renner of the opposition Die Linke party, who asked for updated information about these neo-Nazi trips to shooting ranges abroad, said the authorities whose job is to combat extremism and terrorism should pay more attention to this issue. "Right-wing terror continues to still be underestimated and, as a consequence, downplayed here," Renner said.
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