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Cologne police blamed for New Year’s Eve attacks

11 January 2016 21:45



Interior Minister of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region has blamed Cologne’s Police Department for the disorder leading to the New Year’s Eve attacks.

Pakistani and Syrian refugees were the victims of the attacks in the city on January 10.

Speaking in Dusseldorf on Monday, Ralf Jaeger said “police authorities should have called in more forces,” adding that back-up forces were available on New Year’s Eve.

Jaeger said new measures will be introduced “to eliminate drawbacks which have appeared to the current moment,” adding that a new division will be set up for the “security of women” ahead of the upcoming carnival in Cologne.

Meanwhile, six Pakistani nationals were attacked on Sunday by about 20 people and two of them were briefly admitted to a hospital, police said. Also on Sunday evening, five people attacked a Syrian man, who was injured in the attack.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday condemned the attacks on women in Cologne describing them as “intolerable.” However, he said “nothing excuses” retaliatory attacks on refugees.

Merkel has proposed facilitation to deport refugees involved in crimes. Her spokesman said the government is looking into both “possible consequences for criminal law (and) possible political consequences for the intolerable crimes.”

Seibert said Germans must not blame all the nearly 1.1 million refugees who entered the country last year, and said the government is also focused on their welfare.

“We’re doing all of these things to protect the population in Germany,” he said. “We are also doing this for the great majority of innocent refugees who have sought refuge from bombs and war in our country, and who should get this protection and who are prepared to adapt to the rules and values in our country.”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said, “As abominable as the crimes in Cologne and other cities were, one thing remains clear: there is no justification for blanket agitation against foreigners.”

Some people, the minister stated, “appear just to have been waiting for the events of Cologne.”

German authorities said Monday that nearly all suspects in the New Year’s Eve violence against women in Cologne were “of foreign origin,” as police blamed far-right thugs for reprisal attacks.

Cologne police say 516 criminal complaints have now been filed with them in connection to the New Year’s attacks. About 40 percent involve allegations of sexual offenses.

Of the 19 suspects identified by Cologne police, 10 were said to be refugees and the other nine were believed to be in Germany illegally, according to a report Jaeger submitted to the committee. None was registered as living in Cologne, and four are now in custody for robberies committed during the New Year events.

Separately, 32 suspects have been identified by federal police, who have jurisdiction over the Cologne train station security, the German Interior Ministry said. They include 22 asylum seekers but also three Germans and an American, among others.

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