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Two ex-soldiers arrested in Germany accused of forming mercenary group

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By Euronews  with AP & AFP
Bodies covered following a 2019 bombing during the conflict in Yemen
Bodies covered following a 2019 bombing during the conflict in Yemen   -   Copyright  Hani Mohammed/AP

Two former soldiers in Germany have been arrested, accused of trying to form a mercenary group with the aim of intervening in the military conflict in Yemen.

Authorities said the men, identified as Arend-Adolf G and Achim A, were detained on Wednesday in southern Germany.

Both are German citizens and former soldiers in the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces.

The men are accused of being ringleaders in the formation of a terror organisation, prosecutors said in a statement.

Together they are alleged to have decided in early 2021 to create their own mercenary group made up of between 100 and 150 former soldiers or members of the police.

The men's primary motivation was to earn about €40,000 each per month by offering the group's services to third parties, specifically Saudi Arabia, prosecutors said.

The oil-rich kingdom has intervened in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen against the Houthi rebel group.

One of the suspects, Achim A, "tried persistently and over a long period of time to initiate a dialogue with Saudi government officials" in order to get the project financed, prosecutors said.

"He tried in various ways to establish a channel of communication with Saudi government agencies and to obtain a meeting date for the submission of their bid.”

However, "all these efforts were in vain as the Saudi government agencies contacted showed no reaction".

The men were aware that their plans for military intervention in Yemen would inevitably require them to kill people, and they were aware that civilians might be injured and killed too, prosecutors said.

Arend-Adolf G is alleged to have won over at least seven people for the plan, they added.