Dutch police say surviving Red Army Faction members still active

Three remaining terrorists from Baader-Meinhof believed to be in Netherlands

Daniela Klette, one of the surviving members of the Red Army Faction believed to be still active in the Netherlands

Daniela Klette, one of the surviving members of the Red Army Faction believed to be still active in the Netherlands

 

Three members of Germany’s radical left-wing terrorist group the Red Army Faction – also known in the 1970s and 1980s as the Baader-Meinhof Gang – are believed to be on the run in the Netherlands and hunted by police and security services from both countries.

The two men and one woman, Ernst-Volker Staub (61), Burkhard Garweg (47) and Daniela Klette (57), are known as the “third generation” of the Red Army Faction. The group committed some 20 violent crimes and assassinations between 1984 and 1993, leaving 34 people dead and 29 seriously injured.

The three are also wanted for the 1993 bomb attack on a prison under construction in Weiterstadt, in the centre of Germany, in which five attackers armed with machine guns used a rope ladder to scale a 6m wall, before detonating explosives that caused €65 million worth of damage.

Militant links

The Red Army Faction was set up in 1970 by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin and Horst Mahler. They forged links to a number of militant organisations in the Middle East, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The Red Army Faction caused such carnage that, in 2007, relatives of its victims held a special commemoration to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer, formerly a member of Hitler’s SS, who was “denazified” and then “repatriated” in 1948.

During Schleyer’s kidnapping, his driver and three of his guards were killed. He was held captive for 43 days before he was shot dead when the West German government refused to give in to demands for the release of 11 Baader-Meinhof gang members.

The Weiterstadt prison bombing appeared to have been the Red Army Faction’s last “anti-capitalist” attack when they announced their disbandment six years later, in 1998.

Just over 12 months later, however, Staub and Klette, carrying an AK47 assault rifle and a rocket-propelled grenade, held up an armoured cash-in-transit convoy and got away with more than one million German marks (roughly €510,000).

It was unclear initially who was responsible for the attack. But the gang left masks at the scene, which subsequently enabled the police to identify them from traces of saliva. They were never caught, but went quiet, apparently living on the proceeds.

More robberies

It has now emerged that since 2011, police have suspected them of being behind two new cash-in-transit armed robberies, a bungled attempt to rob a security van near Bremen, and a spate of at least six supermarket raids. All the attacks were on the German-Dutch border.

There have been no sightings in Germany itself. A mobile phone tracked by the security services is believed to have been turned off in the Netherlands, and they are known to have hidden out here.

Dutch police have offered a reward of €80,000 for information leading to their arrest.

“There is reason to believe they may now be living in the Netherlands, in a rural area or anonymously in a city, perhaps moving from house to house or perhaps posing as tourists,” police said.

“All three are armed and dangerous and should by no means be approached if spotted.”