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Germany is Investigating Soldiers for Taking Part in Racist Violence

Three German soldiers have been arrested for complicity in manslaughter and another 21 are being investigated in connection with neo- Nazi violence, racist propaganda and off-duty attacks on foreigners in this country.

On Wednesday, the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, confirmed reports of the arrests of the three soldiers, who were being held in custody in different German towns. Their identities were not revealed.

The Defense Ministry said the three were skinheads who had been drafted and were fighting among themselves.

In addition, the armed forces confirmed that seven other soldiers had been arrested for less serious crimes, including arson attacks on hostels for refugees, desecrations of Jewish cemeteries or memorials and displaying Nazi symbols.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said soldiers were being investigated in connection with nine attacks on refugee hostels throughout Germany within the past 10 months.

The two dozen cases were mentioned in a letter released Wednesday from the commander in chief of Germany’s ground forces, Lt. Gen. Helge Hansen, to thousands of officers, asking them to pay special attention to the problem of right-wing extremism.

The letter pointed out that the number of known neo-Nazi cases was relatively small when measured against the 400,000 soldiers who make up the Bundeswehr.

But Hansen said that each single case was too much for the Bundeswehr to take, and that educational and other means should be applied promptly to fix the problem.

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