Alleged Militant Nabbed After 30 Years on the Run

Daniela Klette, alleged ex-member of Red Army Faction, is caught in Germany
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2024 1:34 PM CST
Alleged Militant Nabbed After 30 Years on the Run
Police officers stand at the entrance to an apartment building in the Kreuzberg district in Berlin, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.   (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

An alleged member of a far-left militant group tied to murders in Germany has been arrested after nearly 30 years on the run. Daniela Klette, a member of the now-dissolved Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was discovered at an apartment in Berlin's Kreuzberg district on Monday following a tip from the public, per the AP. The woman, identified through fingerprints, had a foreign passport under a different name, as well as magazines and ammunition, though no guns, police said. Klette is one of three suspected militants police have been pursuing for decades. She and the others, Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg, have been "linked to 12 robberies in northern Germany between 1999 and 2016, as well as attempted murder," per the AP.

The RAF sprang up out of student protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Klette was allegedly part of its third generation, active in the 1980s and '90s. During that time, the group's campaign of terror included the 1986 fatal shooting of Gerold von Braunmuehl, a senior official in the West German Foreign Ministry; the 1989 assassination of Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen; and the 1991 fatal shooting of Detlev Rohwedder, a politician overseeing the privatization of state-owned property in the former East Germany. Klette's DNA was found at the scene of a gun attack on the US embassy in Bonn in 1991, which resulted in no injuries, per the BBC. The robberies in which Klette, Staub, and Garweg were later accused are believed to have funded their lives underground.

Authorities said it was unclear where Klette had been living all these years. "Of course we are hoping for answers when we can get talking to Ms. Klette," said Friedo de Vries, head of Lower Saxony state's criminal police office. However, German newspaper Bild spoke with neighbors who said Klette had been hiding in Berlin for 20 years, living under the name Claudia, per Deutshe Welle. Investigators had received some 250 tips from the public about the potential whereabouts of Klette, Staub, and Garweg, after their alleged crimes were highlighted in a recent TV program, the Guardian reports. Authorities said a man was arrested in connection with the 65-year-old Klette, but his name has not been released. (More Germany stories.)

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