BFF-53 Calls for calm as police hold Afghans suspected of killing German man

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GERMANY-CRIME-MIGRANTS

Calls for calm as police hold Afghans suspected of killing German man

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Sept 9, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – German police on Sunday
took two Afghan nationals into custody on suspicion of killing a 22-year-old
German man in a fight in the eastern town of Koethen, prompting calls for
calm as anti-migrants tensions flare.

In a short statement, local police and prosecutors said the young man
had died late Saturday and that “two Afghans were provisionally detained on
suspicion of homicide”.

They stressed that all lines of inquiry remained open, and that “the
concrete circumstances of the event are not yet known”.

The death comes two weeks after the fatal stabbing of a German man,
allegedly by two asylum seekers, in the eastern city of Chemnitz sparked
anti-foreigner protests and far-right violence, sending shockwaves through
Germany.

Holger Stahlknecht, interior minister of the state of Saxony-Anhalt where
the latest incident happened, told DPA news agency that he deeply regretted
“the tragic death” and understood the concerns of citizens.

But he urged residents to “keep a cool head” amid fears of a repeat of
the unrest seen in Chemnitz.

The state’s integration officer Susi Moebbeck wrote on Twitter:
“Violence should be condemned anywhere, any place. Time for mourning. Time
for prudence. Look after each other.”

German media reported that the latest incident began on a playground in
Koethen, where three Afghan men were arguing with a pregnant woman over who
the father was of her unborn child.

Two Germans then reportedly approached the group, escalating the row.

It is unclear what exactly happened next, but according to Die Welt daily
the 22-year-old died of a cerebral haemorrhage. The third Afghan was not
believed to have been involved in the brawl.

Local residents and politicians on Sunday placed flowers and candles at
the scene, DPA reported.

The unrest in Chemnitz in the neighbouring state of Saxony has reignited
debate in Germany about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the
country’s borders at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis.

Merkel strongly condemned the protests in Chemnitz, saying there was no
place for “hate in the streets” after participants assaulted foreign-looking
people, reporters and police and some flashed the illegal Nazi salute.

But Interior minister Horst Seehofer of her CSU sister party, and one of
Merkel’s fiercest critics, blasted immigration as “the mother of all
political problems”.

Pouring fuel on the fire, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence
chief on Friday raised doubts about a video showing what appeared to be
immigrants being accosted and chased down the street during the protests.

He said he was sceptical of media reports of right-wing extremists
“hunting down” foreigners in Chemnitz, saying the footage may have been fake.

But he offered no evidence to support his claim, and state prosecutors
say they see no reason to question the video’s authenticity.

BSS/AFP/RY/1930 hrs