Sunday, March 29, 2020 | ePaper

Suspected German gunman’s ‘hate list’ included Bangladesh

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A man suspected of shooting dead nine people across twoshisha bars in a German town on Thursday had posted a manifesto onlineincluding conspiracy theories and deeply racist views that envisioned completeextermination of people from a number of countries—including Bangladesh.

The manifesto envisioned first a "rough cleaning"and then a "fine cleaning" that could halve the world's population,prosecutors said on Thursday, reports Time.

Prosecutor General Peter Frank identified the gunman only asTobias R. (43)—in line with German privacy laws—and confirmed he had postedextremist videos and a manifesto with "confused ideas and far-fetchedconspiracy theories" on his website.

"On the suspected perpetrator's home page, he had putup video messages and a kind of manifesto that, in addition to obscure thoughtsand absurd conspiracy theories, pointed to deeply racist views," Franksaid.

The man identified himself as Tobias Rathjen on the website,which has since been taken down but had a mailing address matching that of thehome where the bodies of the killer and his mother were found.

In the manifesto, Rathjen claimed to have approached policeseveral times with conspiracy theories.

Among the documents posted to the website was a 24-page,rambling manifesto in German detailing, among other things, fears that he hasbeen under government surveillance for years. He blamed the surveillance forhis inability to have a relationship with a woman.

"We now have ethnic groups, races or cultures in ourmidst that are destructive in every respect," he wrote.

"The following people must be completely exterminated:Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, thecomplete Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,Usbekistan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodiaand the Philippines," he also wrote, according to the Time report.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the"poison" of racism. Her deputy, Olaf Scholz, took to Twitter to say:"Politically, nobody can deny that 75 years after Nazi dictatorship, thereis real terror again."

On Thursday, the gunman burst into a bar in downtown Hanauand opened fire on the patrons, then drove to a second bar where he continuedthe attack, police and witnesses said.

Officers chased a car leaving the scene of the second andfinal attack to another address, where they found the bodies of the suspect andhis 72-year-old mother, both with gunshot wounds, police said.

Frank told reporters the nine people shot dead had immigrantbackgrounds. His office later said they included German citizens and foreignersaged between 21 and 44. Six more people were injured in the attack.

At least five of the victims were Turkish nationals,Ankara's ambassador to Berlin told state broadcaster TRT Haber, as hisgovernment demanded robust action, Reuters reported.

The Confederation of the Communities of Kurdistan in Germanysaid several victims were Kurdish and accused Germany's political leaders of"not resolutely opposing right-wing networks and right-wingterrorism".

Germany is home to three million people of Turkish origin,including one million ethnic Kurds.

Bulgarian public broadcaster BNT said a 32-year-oldBulgarian man was among the victims.

Investigators said it appeared the gunman acted alone, butFrank said authorities are trying to find out whether there were others whoknew of or supported the attack. He added that his office is looking into anycontacts the killer may have had inside Germany and abroad.

Following the shooting incident, Germany faced calls totoughen gun ownership laws and step up efforts to track far-right sympathisers.

The suspect belonged to a gun club, raising questions as tohow a man with such ideological convictions managed to gain membership andobtain the weapons he used, Reuters reported.

Federal Prosecutor General Peter Frank said on Friday thatthe suspect had a licence for two weapons, and it remained unclear whether hehad contacts with other far-right sympathisers at home or abroad.

Frank added that the gunman had sent a letter to prosecutorsin November complaining about an unknown intelligence agency with powers tocontrol people's thoughts and actions.

"The letter did not include his racist calls for theextermination of certain peoples," Frank told a news conference. "Wedid not launch an investigation based on the letter, which later appeared inthe gunman's racist manifesto."

In October last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel's governmentoutlawed the sale of guns to members of extremist groups monitored by securityagencies and obliged online platforms to inform police about hate speech.

Those measures followed the killing of a pro-immigrationGerman politician in June and an attack on a synagogue and a kebab shop fourmonths later in Halle by an anti-Semitic gunman who livestreamed his actions.

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