Germany shootings: 'Far-right gunman' injures Bavaria police

A police car in front of a house of a member of the so-called Reichsbuerger movement in Georgensgmuend, southern Germany, on 19 October 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police say the man began shooting at them as soon as they appeared at his property early on Wednesday

A 49-year-old man has been arrested after wounding four police officers in the southern state of Bavaria, German police say.

The man opened fire after being asked to hand over his weapons, for which his permit had been revoked.

One of the officers is said to have received life-threatening injuries in the incident in the town of Georgensgmuend, south of Nuremberg.

The man is said to belong to the far-right Reichsbuerger movement.

He had previously refused on several occasions to co-operate with municipal officials concerned about his ownership of 31 weapons, officials told a news conference.

They requested the assistance of the police, who mounted an early-morning raid on the man's property.

But he immediately began shooting at officers without opening the door. Two police officers suffered gunshot wounds and the other two had unspecified injuries, said Germany's DPA news agency.

The gunman was lightly injured in the exchange.

Reichsbuerger movement

The Reichsbuerger ("Reich Citizens") group does not recognise the authority of the post-war German federal republic, seeing it merely as some sort of private company. It believes in the continued existence of a German empire, or Reich, dating back to 1937 or even earlier.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police moved in because the suspect had repeatedly refused to co-operate with local officials

Its roots are said to go back some three decades.

Bavarian officials said the group's ideology was "nationalist and anti-Semitic.... clearly extreme right". Their circle had grown in recently years, they said, and included "whingers, nutcases, conspiracy theorists, but also the far-right".

The diversity of beliefs and views within the group militates against a simple hierarchical structure or clear leadership.

But the group should not be dismissed simply as an "association of crackpots", said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann. Some of its members were obviously capable of brutal violence, particularly targeting representatives of the German state, he warned. Others use their rejection in the authority of the German state as grounds to refuse to pay taxes or creditors.

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