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What you need to know about German police ‘Rambo’-style Black Forest manhunt

In scenes reminiscent of the film "Rambo", police in Germany's Black Forest are hunting for a homeless man wearing combat gear and armed with a bow and arrow among other weapons.

What you need to know about German police 'Rambo'-style Black Forest manhunt
Police officer standing to cordon in a residential area in Oppenau during the manhunt. Photo: DPA

What's happening?

Several hundred officers were combing the forest with the help of special forces, helicopters and sniffer dogs on Monday after the man went missing on Sunday.

Police in Oppenau, in south-western Germany, warned local residents to stay at home and not pick up any hitchhikers.

They released a photo of the 31-year-old suspect, who has a bow and arrow, a knife and at least one gun and is known to the police for previous offences, including illegal possession of firearms.

The authorities did not name the suspect, but the Bild tabloid identified him as Yves Rausch, also publishing a photo of him dressed in military fatigues.

Police said they were informed on Sunday morning that a suspicious man was hanging around a hut in the forest.

Four officers sent to the scene said the suspect cooperated at first when approached.

But then he “suddenly and completely unexpectedly” threatened them with a firearm, leaving them “no time to react to the dangerous situation,” police said.

Police are searching for this man. Photo: Oppenau Police/DPA

The man made the officers hand over their weapons before running away, “presumably” taking their firearms with him.

Police described the man as about 170 centimetres (5.6 feet) tall, slim, with glasses, a goatee beard and a bald head.

READ ALSO: German police search for armed man on the run in Black Forest

They said he had spent time in the forest before and had been spotted there as recently as Saturday, so he presumably knew his way around the terrain.

Man spent time in prison

Bild said he lived above a local guest house for three years before being evicted for not paying his rent about a year ago.

He had odd jobs as a rail worker and a golf course caretaker, a former neighbour was cited as saying, describing him as “not an easy person”.

Various weapons and petrol canisters were found in his apartment after he was evicted, as well as a small shooting range in the attic, according to Bild.

The man then reportedly lived in his car by the local swimming pool for a while before moving into the hut at the edge of the forest.

According to Bild, he spent time in prison for shooting his girlfriend with a bow and arrow.

A police spokesman was cited as saying the man was in a state of “psychiatric emergency” and should not be approached.

The police weapons were P2000 semi-automatic pistols that can hold up to 16 bullets each, according to Bild, meaning the man could have an extra 64 shots at his disposal.

By Sebastien Sauges

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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