Germany gurudwara attack: Police admit not acting on tip-off

  • PTI, Berlin
  • Updated: May 24, 2016 14:53 IST
A police officer walks in front of the Sikh temple in Essen, western German where an explosion took place at a wedding on April 16, 2016. (AFP)

German authorities probing the terror bombing of a gurudwara in Essen have admitted mistake by failing to respond “resolutely” to a warning in January from the school of one of the two main suspects in the attack, prompting an internal investigation.

Over a month after the attack on Nanaksar Satsangh Sabha Gurdwara, police in the town of Gelsenkirchen said it was a failure not to alert the judicial authorities after the head of a secondary school informed them that its 16-year-old pupil Yussuf T had in January shown fellow students on his mobile phone a video of the detonation of a self-made explosive device.

Instead of taking any steps against the youth, police agreed on a code of conduct for the students with the school leadership and this was a “wrong decision”, regional newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported yesterday quoting a police official.

“Our reaction was not resolute enough,” the official said.

Police have ordered an internal investigation to establish why the warning was not taken seriously enough, the report said.

A report on regional TV channel WDR said investigators had searched Yussuf’s room at his house in Gelsenkirchen shortly before Christmas last year and confiscated his computer and his mobile phone.

The teenager had spoken about a police raid on his house when he returned to the school after the Christmas holidays and he was in possession of a mobile phone which was not confiscated during the raid, Yussuf’s class teacher told the channel.

The teacher said she heard from Yussuf’s classmates that he had shown them a video of an explosion on his mobile phone.

This information was conveyed to the local police authorities by the school leadership, but they made no effort to confiscate the second mobile phone, the report said.

Investigators found the video of a “trial explosion” of a self-made bomb on a USB drive confiscated from the house of Yussuf’s accomplice Mohammed B in Essen, several days after the bomb explosion at the gurudwara on April 16 that injured three persons, including a Sikh priest seriously.

The video showed the two men detonating in an open area a bomb similar to the fire extinguisher filled with explosives which they detonated at the entrance of the gurudwara.

The interior ministry of the state of North Rhine Westphalia confirmed at the end of last month that the two teenagers wanted to detonate their bomb inside the gurudwara, which hosted a Sikh wedding ceremony, but they failed to break in through the entrance door.

The two men were arrested four days after the attack while a third suspect, 17-year-old Tolga I from Wesel, in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, was taken into custody early this month. All of them are currently kept in a preventive custody.

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