Iraqi police officer at training camp disappears
2 December 2005, BERLIN - An Iraqi police officer attending a hush-hush training course with 39 other officers in suburban Berlin has gone absent without leave, raising fears in Germany Friday that he might be a terrorist mole.
2 December 2005
BERLIN - An Iraqi police officer attending a hush-hush training course with 39 other officers in suburban Berlin has gone absent without leave, raising fears in Germany Friday that he might be a terrorist mole.
However federal police dismissed the fears, saying it was more likely he was enjoying the attractions of the big city until it was time for the party of police, prosecution and prison officers to fly home.
An Interior Ministry spokesman in Berlin said the man, born in 1973, had gone missing on November 28. He had been vetted for any security risk before he came to Germany. Since the course participants were guests, they were not confined to barracks.
Federal police had taken pains not to draw attention to the training course, part of a European Union plan approved by foreign ministers in February to train 770 senior officials in modern skills and democratic values.
The Iraqis were at a federal police training site in Blumberg, northeast of Berlin.
The spokesman said there was "no evidence whatsoever" that the man could be linked to Iraqi terrorists. A Berlin newspaper, Tagesspiegel, had reported Friday this "could not be ruled out".
"All police means" were being used to discover his whereabouts. Police do not believe he has fallen victim to a crime or accident.
"He knows people who live in Berlin," the spokesman. "He probably went to see them and did not return to Blumberg in time for classes."
Officials said that going by similar cases in the past, he would have known he would be punished with immediate suspension, so would have decided to enjoy the city lights till the party set off for home in mid December.
The Justice Ministry said a second course would start after March next year.
Konrad Freiberg, chairman of the German police officers' union GdP, said it made sense to quietly bring the Iraqi trainees to Germany rather than "training them somewhere in the desert".
As a strict opponent of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq, Germany has not sent any forces personnel into Iraq and instead has conducted many courses in the United Arab Emirates.
Subject: German news