Cross border links of far-right extremists in Germany is a matter of concern
On December 12, the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced that Austrian police seized dozens of weapons and 100,000 rounds of ammunition that were intended to be supplied for setting up of far-right militia in Bavaria state of Germany. According to reports, authorities found 76 semi-automatic and automatic weapons, 14 handguns, more than 100,000 rounds of various calibers, as well as six hand grenades and various types of explosives. A Vienna based newspaper said that the cache included detonators and explosives as well as hundreds of weapons, among which were AK-47 assault rifles, Kalashnikovs, Uzi submachine guns, and around 100,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Interior Minister Nehammer said that five people were arrested during raids on homes and warehouses in the nation. “We have struck a massive blow against the right-wing extremist scene in Austria and organized crime, and how they are connected,” Nehammer said during a news conference. He said that some of those belonged to the “neo-Nazi scene that have sadly also been known in Austria for a while.” The firearms were allegedly bought with the proceeds from the sale of drugs. Local media said that one of the arrested was once suspected of being connected to a letter bombing campaign that shook Austria in the 1990s.
The arrests in Austria have once again revealed the magnitude of threat from right wing extremism and subscribers of the neo-Nazi ideology. “The suspicion that the weapons and ammunition were intended for Germany requires a complete and comprehensive investigation,” Germany’s Interior Ministry said. On December 14, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called the discovery of “such a great quantity” of weapons, munitions and explosives “alarming” and pledged a full investigation into the case. “This is particularly true for the right-extremist background of the suspect in Austria,” he said in a written statement. Two alleged accomplices were also arrested in the German states of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s Interior Ministry added.
The arrests not only point out that right wing extremism in Germany is a pressing security issue but also reveals that these neo-Nazi extremists have established contact beyond the Germans and have access to weapons and ammunitions in neighbouring countries. Further, the discovery of modern sophisticated weapons in the raids by the Austrian security agencies reveals that far right groups are capable of building their own militias and can carry out violent attacks anytime. Also concerning is the links between these far-right groups and organised crimes.