Gunman kills parents and four others in Germany

German forensic policemen walk near a house where a shooter killed six people in Rot am See in southwestern Germany. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 January 2020

Gunman kills parents and four others in Germany

  • The shooter launched the attack in the town of Rot am See near Heidelberg
  • Police have been able to confirm that two of the dead were the suspect’s father and mother

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany: A 26-year-old man is believed to have shot dead his mother and father and four other people in a town in southwest Germany on Friday, police said, leaving two others seriously wounded.
The suspect “called the police station in (nearby town) Aalen at 12:48 p.m. (1148 GMT) to inform them he had shot several people,” police chief Reiner Moeller told reporters in a press conference hours after the killings in Rot am See, near Baden-Wuerttemberg state capital Stuttgart.
The young man stayed on the line, and when the first officers arrived minutes later at the hotel where the shooting took place, they immediately arrested him outside.
“They were then able to identify six dead people both inside and behind the building,” Moeller said, including three men aged 36, 65 and 69 and three women aged 36, 56 and 62.
Images from the scene showed large numbers of emergency vehicles and heavily armed officers sealing off the area with red and white police tape.
Meanwhile forensics teams dressed in white coveralls moved in to secure evidence.
Two survivors of the attack are receiving medical treatment, with one of them “in danger for his life,” police chief Moeller said.
The shooter had also threatened two children aged 12 and 15, leaving them shaken but unharmed.
Investigators have so far been unable to discover anything about the motive of the suspect, saying he would be questioned only when his lawyer arrived at the police station.
So far the police have been able to confirm only that two of the dead were the suspect’s father and mother.
“We are still clarifying the other relationships” between the group, Moeller said.
The perpetrator himself, a German citizen, lived in the hotel along with some of the victims, near the station in the town of 5,200 people.
German media had earlier reported that the group had met in the hotel for a family gathering, but police have so far been unable to confirm this.
Investigators say the crime was committed with a semi-automatic handgun, for which the suspect held a license for sport shooting.
The weapon was found inside the building after officers arrested the 26-year-old man.
While owning firearms is not illegal in Germany, most guns can be acquired only with a license and they are closely monitored, making mass shootings comparatively rare.
In October last year, a far-right attacker shot two people dead in the eastern city Halle, wounding several more after failing to break into a packed synagogue armed with home-made weapons.
In July 2016, a teenager used a pistol bought illegally online to kill nine people in a Munich shopping center, before turning the weapon on himself.
Germany has also been the target of a number of jihadist attacks in recent years, although most of the perpetrators did not use guns.
The most deadly took place in December 2016, when Tunisian Anis Amri drove an articulated truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people.


Cross-class marriage urged to tackle Indonesia poverty

Updated 21 February 2020

Cross-class marriage urged to tackle Indonesia poverty

  • Country ranks sixth among those with greatest wealth inequality: Oxfam

JAKARTA: A senior Indonesian minister has suggested that poor people should marry someone of higher social status to reduce poverty.

Muhadjir Effendy, the coordinating minister for human development and cultural affairs, told a meeting on the national health program in Jakarta on Wednesday that he would ask Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi — who also attended the meeting — to issue an edict recommending the move.

Effendy said that the edict could prevent the emergence of “new poor households” and provide Indonesia’s majority Muslim community with a new interpretation of the principle that one should marry a person with a compatible socioeconomic background for the sake of equivalence (kaf’ah) between prospective spouses.

The principle, he said, makes poor people marry among themselves and “automatically give birth to a new poor household.”

The minister on Thursday clarified that his intention with the “intermezzo” statement was to kick-start a social movement to break the cycle of poverty in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s poverty rate declined to below 10 percent for the first time in the country’s history, in September 2019, according to the latest data available from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS).

The BPS sets the poverty line at $32.13 per person per month, or an average of $1.07 per day.

FASTFACT

President Joko Widodo frequently requests his ministers to come up with ideas to accelerate the anti-poverty programs and close the country’s income inequality gap.

President Joko Widodo frequently requests his ministers to come up with ideas to accelerate the implementation of poverty alleviation programs and close the country’s income inequality gap, which has widened over the past 20 years.

In September, the level of inequality in Indonesia measured by the Gini coefficient stood at 0.380, improving by 0.004 points from the previous year, according to the BPS. The index ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing perfect inequality.

An Oxfam report in 2017 showed that in the past two decades, the gap between the richest and the rest of the population in Indonesia had grown faster than in any other country in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is ranked sixth among the countries with greatest wealth inequality, according to the UK-based NGO.

Oxfam said that the four richest men in Indonesia have more wealth than the poorest 100 million people. Inequality is slowing down poverty reduction, dampening economic growth and threatening social cohesion, it said.

However, economists said that suggesting the poor pursue a Cinderella story to graduate from their low-socioeconomic status was not the solution that Indonesia needed to reduce poverty and tackle income inequality.

“How would the state manage such domestic affairs? Even parents could not choose for their children,” Enny Sri Hartati, a senior researcher at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), told Arab News on Thursday.

Indef Deputy Director Eko Listiyanto said that there was no guarantee that Effendy’s proposal, if approved, would be effective in tackling poverty. “There is no urgency for such an edict . . . the root of the problem lies with the issuance of economic policies that widen inequality as they only benefit a small group in the society,” he said.

Listiyanto said that the government was unable to drive upward mobility as the majority of its policies revolved around populism rather than empowerment. He called on the government to stop making regulations that served only oligarchs.

“It would be better to improve the national education system to prepare the next generation for their economic leap. That move would be far more sustainable compared with issuing the marriage edict,” he said.

Pieter Abdullah Redjalam, research director of the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia, said that Effendy’s idea of a cross-class marriage edict showed that he was out of touch with reality.

“He seems to forget that there is a very wide gap between the poor and the rich,” Redjalam said. “The poor are generally trapped in the poverty cycle. They cannot go to school, so they stay poor.”

Redjalam echoed Listiyanto’s recommendation of opening access to and improving the quality of Indonesia’s education system to reduce poverty in the long term. “It is a shame if the former education minister does not understand that,” he said, referring to Effendy.