30 years on: Police arrest suspect in arson attack on German refugee home

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30 years on: Police arrest suspect in arson attack on German refugee home
Demonstrators stand in front of the Koblenz Higher Regional Court on November 16th, 2022 at the start of a trial for a fatal arson attack on an asylum home in Saarlouis in 1991. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Frey

German police have arrested a second suspect in the revived cold case of a deadly arson attack on a home for asylum seekers over 30 years ago, prosecutors said Tuesday.


Named as Peter St., the man is accused of inciting the arson attack in 1991 which killed a 27-year-old Ghanaian man, Samuel Yeboah.

Peter St. faces charges of being an accessory to Yeboah's murder and an accessory to attempted murder in 20 cases.

The main suspect, named as Peter S., went on trial in November and is accused of starting the fire in the town of Saarlouis, right along the French border in the state of Saarland, in the early hours of September 19, 1991.

Prosecutors say Peter S. was part of the skinhead scene and had a "right-wing extremist and racist motivation" for the attack.

Peter St. is accused of visiting a pub in Saarlouis on the evening of September 18th with a group of right-wing extremists, including Peter S..

"The group exchanged views on the numerous racially motivated attacks on accommodation for foreigners taking place at the time, especially in East Germany," the prosecutors said.

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Peter St., who at the time had a "prominent role in the regional skinhead scene", allegedly made it clear that he approved of such attacks.

In the presence of Peter S., he is accused of saying "something like that should burn or happen here".

Later the same evening, Peter S. is suspected of dousing the entrance to the asylum centre in Saarlouis with petrol before setting fire to it.

The blaze spread rapidly up the stairwell, engulfing Yeboah who died after suffering serious burns and smoke inhalation.


Two residents saved themselves by jumping out of the window, suffering broken bones. The remaining 18 reached safety uninjured, prosecutors said.

The case remained unsolved for decades before investigations were restarted two years ago after new evidence was unearthed.


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