German Red Army Faction Radicals ‘Bungled Armed Robbery’


A botched armed robbery in north Germany last June was the work of three wanted militants from the far-left Red Army Faction (RAF), police say.

The RAF, also called the Baader-Meinhof gang, killed more than 30 people in an anti-capitalist terror campaign in the 1970s and 80s.

In 1998 an RAF declaration said the “urban guerrilla project” had ended.

Shots were fired at an armoured security van near Bremen last June, but the militants could not open its doors.

The three fled the scene – a supermarket car park in Gross Mackenstedt – in a Ford Focus, having failed to grab the cash that was inside the van. The two security men inside were unhurt, German broadcaster NDR said.

Police have only now identified the robbers’ DNA from fingerprints, naming the suspects as ex-RAF militants Ernst-Volker Staub, 58, Daniela Klette, aged 57, and Burkhard Garweg, whose age is unknown.

Experts on the RAF believe the militants may be running out of money as they get older, and not that they are staging robberies in order to finance a new urban guerrilla campaign.

Camouflage gear


According to investigators, the militants drove up to the security van in a VW van, which they then reversed into a wall, blocking the target vehicle.

The three wore masks and camouflage gear. Video footage from surveillance cameras showed them armed with two Kalashnikov assault rifles and a grenade launcher.

At least three shots were fired – a bullet burst one of the van’s tyres, another shattered the windscreen and a third was found embedded in the van’s armour.

The Ford Focus getaway car was found abandoned a week later in woodland near Gross Ippener – about nine minutes’ journey from the crime scene.

NDR reports that DNA from Klette and Staub was also found after a similar armed robbery in Duisburg, in the Ruhr region of western Germany, in 1999.

The RAF had links with radical Arab militants in the Middle East and targeted German bankers, businessmen, judges and US servicemen.

The German criminal police – BKA – has put wanted notices on the internet for the three, offering rewards for information that leads to their capture.