German ex-militaries planned mercenary group to fight in Yemen
The defendants hoped Saudi officials would pay them to force peace negotiations in Yemen.
The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office has arrested two former Bundeswehr soldiers who tried to set up a mercenary force of more than 100 men to intervene in the civil war in Yemen.
The two Germans, aged 52 and 60, were arrested “on urgent suspicion of attempted formation of a terrorist organization,” a statement released by the attorney general reads. Special units of the federal police on Wednesday detained both suspects in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district and Munich.
The two men reportedly made the decision to build a mercenary force under their command in early 2021. Their paramilitary unit was to be comprised of 100 to 150 men, mainly former members of the Bundeswehr or former police officers, Tagesschau reports.
With their mercenaries, the two ex-militaries had planned to intervene in the civil war in Yemen to force peace negotiations between the Huthi rebels and Yemeni government.
The driving motivation behind forming the group was financial: Both defendants reportedly intended each member of the group to earn a monthly wage of around €40,000, preferably from Saudi Arabia. They made numerous attempts to reach out to Saudi officials, who showed no reaction to their persisting efforts, der Spiegel reports.
“The two defendants were aware that the unit they were to command would inevitably have to carry out acts of killing during their mission. Moreover, they expected that civilians would also be killed and injured in connection with combat operations,” the statement by the attorney general concludes.
A judge at the Federal Supreme Court will decide today whether to remand the two defendants in custody.