Merkel promises full disclosure on neo-Nazi linked killings
Germany's chancellor promised to get to the bottom of a string of murders implicating far-right extremists after speculation that the suspects may have had links to the intelligence services.
Angela Merkel made the promise hours after prosecutors announced the arrest of a second suspect in the murder of nine people of foreign origin and one policewoman over the last decade.
"The loved ones of the victims can be sure that (Germany) will do everything to get to the bottom of this affair," Merkel told public television channel ARD.
Her comments came amid mounting unease over the affair and massive coverage in Germany's media.
There were fears that investigators had uncovered a "Brown Army Faction" of violent extremists -- a far-right version of the now-defunct far-left Red Army Faction that killed more than 30 people between the 1970s and 1990s.
But there was speculation too among the media and some politicians that the neo-Nazi suspects might have escaped detection for so long because of links to the country's domestic intelligence service.
"It is without doubte the most abject form of right-wing extremism and that this should be going on in our country fills us with shame," Merkel said.
She called for everything to be revealed about the affair because "we owe it to those who lost their lives".
Police arrested a 37-year-old identified only as Holger G. near the northern city of Hannover, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said.
He is suspected of being part of a far-right terror network and of having helped three others in the unsolved killings between 2000 and 2006 of nine people -- eight of Turkish origin and one of Greek descent -- and in the 2007 fatal shooting of a policewoman.
Federal prosecutors launched their investigation after the discovery of a pistol used in the murder of the nine people in the home of a 36-year-old woman, identified as Beate Z., a suspected neo-Nazi.
Wanted by police for questioning over an armed robbery in the eastern Jena region on November 4, she had turned herself in after blowing up a rented flat in the eastern town of Zwickau.
Two suspects in that robbery, who were close to Beate Z. in the neo-Nazi scene, were found dead in a caravan shortly afterwards. Investigators believe the two committed suicide.
It was inside the caravan police found another firearm, that of the policewoman killed by a shot to her head in the southern town of Heilbronn in 2007 -- a murder that has never been solved.
Holger G. is suspected of having helped the three by allowing them to use his driver's licence and passport, but his exact role is still being investigated, the prosecutor's office said.
Some media and politicians have questioned how the suspects could have escaped for 13 years when in 1998 a homemade bomb factory was found in a garage rented by the woman.
Thomas Oppermann, the head of the opposition Social Democrats' parliamentary grouping, told Sunday's mass-circulation Bild newspaper he would seek a special meeting of the parliamentary committee overseeing the secret services.
"I want to know what the authorities knew and how such criminal acts can better be prevented in future," he told the paper.
Wolfgang Bosbach, the head of the parliamentary committee in charge of domestic political issues, also told Bild: "It must be clarified how it was possible for the trio to have lived underground unchecked for 10 years."
© 2011 AFP