Daniela Klette: Alleged Red Army Faction member detained after 30 years

Daniela Klette, who was allegedly on the run for over 30 years, has been apprehended by German authorities.

The individual, aged 65, was located on Monday evening in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg.

Another individual, whose identity is still under verification, has been taken into custody.

Ms Klette is well-known for her alleged involvement in the far-left armed group that caused fear in Germany for many years.

She faces allegations of attempted murder and a series of significant robberies.

The second individual taken into custody, a man who seems to be in the same age range as Ms. Klette’s robbery accomplices, was found with counterfeit identification. The police are still working to establish his identity.

Ms Klette was transported by helicopter to Bremen, in the area where she is accused of committing the robberies, and is currently in pre-trial detention in Verden.

The police verified her identity through fingerprints. She complied with the arrest. In November 2023, authorities located her following a tip from a member of the community.

Authorities are still unsure how she was able to stay hidden underground for three decades, her whereabouts in Germany, and who assisted her in avoiding detection.

An investigation is currently underway in the flat. Authorities discovered magazines and ammunition for a handgun in the apartment, but no weapon was found.

Authorities are calling this arrest a significant development in the ongoing battle against extremism, emphasising that individuals involved in such activities will be pursued relentlessly.

Third iteration

Reports on the “RAF Rentner” or the “Red Army Faction pensioners” depict the robberies from 1999 to 2016 as if they were a comedic TV show featuring a senior citizen on the run.

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However, the former RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was known for its violent actions.

Thirty-four individuals lost their lives from 1971 to 1993. The group focused on political figures and business leaders, with victims including an attorney general and a Deutsche Bank chairman.

Over 200 individuals sustained injuries.

Officials allege Ms Klette was part of the RAF’s so-called third generation, which was active in the 1980s and 1990s.

Reportedly responsible for the death of the Deutsche Bank boss in a roadside bomb and the center-left politician in his home.

A computer-generated rendering of Daniela Klette (on the right) and two other wanted individuals, Burkhard Garweg and Ernst-Volker Staub, were issued by the German police in 2016

In 1991, the group initiated a gun attack on the US embassy in the western city of Bonn. No injuries were reported, however, Ms Klette’s DNA was discovered at the location.

Two years later, the group attacked and partially destroyed a recently constructed prison.

Hiding in the shadows

The Red Army Faction originated from the radical student movement of the 1960s. It’s aim was to undermine West German capitalism, and the group had links to Middle Eastern guerrillas.

Even now, the RAF is occasionally respected in specific radical-left wing circles. Every now and then, the gang’s symbols appear on clothing, leading to heated discussions in Germany about the portrayal of left-wing extremism and violence.

In 1998, the RAF officially disbanded and some members, like Daniela Klette, went underground. After that, she and two other former RAF members reportedly supported themselves by committing armed robberies of supermarkets and cash transporters. They are believed to have earned millions of euros in total.

Police wanted posters display old photos of the trio with shaggy hair, suggesting they could be your neighbours.

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New police images of Ms Klette’s two partners depict middle-aged men with grey hair. However, she seems to have managed to evade being seen or captured on camera, with police images only depicting a simulated representation of her potential appearance at 65 years old.

On February 14th, a state prosecutor requested information from the public on national television during a true-crime documentary series, leading to hundreds of people calling in with potential leads.

Daniela Klette successfully remained unnoticed and hidden for half her life, evading detection for decades.

Up to this point.

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