Press reports group of German neo-Nazis wanted to flee to South Africa
Yesterday the German daily Die Welt reported that detectives have information that the trio of German neo-Nazis who murdered at least nine immigrants and one police officer between 2000 and 2007 planned to flee to the Republic of South Africa. Police say that Beate Zschäpe was against the idea. Zschäpe, the only member of the "National Socialist Underground" (NSU) still alive, is now in custody.
Die Welt cites testimony from a police informer on the German ultra-right from April 2001, just after the group had committed its first attacks, about their plans to move to South Africa. "While [Uwe] Böhnhardt and [Uwe] Mundlos agreed with the plan and worked on getting South African permanent residence, Zschäpe did not want to go abroad and planned to report them to authorities after their departure," the informer said.
After Zschäpe vetoed the idea, the other members of the NSU remained in Germany. According to the available information, they did not leave the country until the group was discovered last November, when Böhnhardt and Mundlos committed suicide to avoid arrest and their fellow-traveler turned herself in to police. Die Welt reports there was speculation that the group lived for quite some time in either Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic or Hungary, but the paper now reports that this seems to have been almost entirely ruled out. The authorities are assuming that the NSU members hid out in various apartments in the Saxon region on the border with the Czech Republic.
Der Spiegel magazine also devoted yesterday's issue to the case of the neo-Nazi murders. The magazine reports that police officers spoke with Zschäpe in 2007 in the Saxon town of Zwickau, where the trio was hiding last. Zschäpe gave them a false name and birth date and denied living in the apartment they were investigating. The magazine reports that the ultra-right assassins moved to their last hiding place shortly afterward.
In addition to the murders of immigrants and a police officer, the NSU was responsible for two bomb attacks in Turkish neighborhoods of Cologne in 2001 and 2004, resulting in 23 injuries. They were also behind 14 bank robberies. The group claimed responsibility for the crimes in a video recording discovered by detectives last year.
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