German army wants recruits checked over extremist concerns
Germany’s Defense Ministry is proposing better screening of new recruits over fears Islamic extremists could be joining the Bundeswehr to get military training.
News agency dpa reported April 12 that a proposal to institute background checks on all recruits should be presented later this month.
Citing a military counterintelligence report, dpa reports 29 former Bundeswehr soldiers have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight with extremists.
Parliament’s commissioner for the military, Hans-Peter Bartels, says training with the Bundeswehr or other countries’ armies is attractive for extremists and should be taken seriously.
Still, he says he has seen no evidence of “any Islamist organization attempting to systematically infiltrate the Bundeswehr.”
Germany’s military already investigates extremism of all types in the army, and currently has 65 open cases against suspected Islamic extremists. AP
Seoul: Senior North Korea military officer defects to South
A colonel from North Korea’s military spy agency fled to South Korea last year in a rare senior-level defection, Seoul officials said April 11.
The announcement came three days after Seoul revealed 13 North Koreans working at the same restaurant in a foreign country had defected to the South. It was the largest group defection since North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011. South Korean media reported the restaurant is located in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo.
The colonel worked for the North Korean military’s General Reconnaissance Bureau before defecting to South Korea, according to Seoul’s Defense Ministry and Unification Ministry. Both ministries refused to provide further details including a motive for the defection.
The reconnaissance agency was believed to be behind two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang that killed 50 South Koreans in 2010.
There have been occasional reports of lower-level North Korean soldiers defecting but it is unusual for a colonel to flee to the South.
More than 29,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, according to South Korean government records. Many defectors have testified they wanted to avoid the North’s harsh political system and poverty. AP