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Germany detains 2nd man in connection with 1991 racist arson attack at asylum shelter

  • A second suspect has been detained in Germany over a fatal arson attack at a refugee shelter which led to the death of a Ghanaian in 1991.
  • German prosecutors said the suspect holds neo-Nazi and racist views and may have met with other far-right extremists in support of attacking migrant homes.
  • Another man has also been accused of setting fire to the German building housing asylum seekers by pouring gasoline on a staircase and setting it alight.

German authorities detained a second man Tuesday in connection with a racist arson attack on a shelter for asylum-seekers 32 years ago in which a Ghanaian man was killed.

Federal prosecutors said Peter St., whose full surname wasn’t released due to privacy rules, was detained by police in the western state of Saarland on suspicion of being an accessory to murder and accessory to attempted murder.

Prosecutors said the suspect, who holds neo-Nazi and racist views, is alleged to have met with other far-right extremists at a bar in the town of Saarlouis on Sept. 18, 1991, and called for attacks on migrant homes.

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memorial rally in Saarland

Participants stand in Saarland on Sept. 19, 2022, at the memorial rally for Samuel Yeboah, a Ghanaian asylum seeker who was killed in an arson attack in 1991. (Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Peter St., who had a prominent role in the regional skinhead scene, is alleged to have praised attacks occurring in eastern Germany at the time and said that “something should burn or happen here too,” prosecutors claim.

Another man who was present in the bar, identified only as Peter S., is then alleged to have gone to a nearby building housing asylum-seekers, poured gasoline on the staircase and set it alight. A 27-year-old Ghanaian resident, Samuel Kofi Yeboah, died after suffering smoke inhalation and severe burns. Two other residents suffered broken bones after jumping out of windows, while 18 people escaped unhurt.

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Peter S. was arrested last year and is currently on trial for murder, attempted murder and fatal arson.

Authorities in Saarland have apologized for police failures in the immediate aftermath of the attack that allowed the suspects to remain free for decades.

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