Germany’s ‘Black Forest Rambo’ nabbed after six-day manhunt

Policemen stand on a road near a forest after capturing a heavily armed suspect accused of stealing officers’ weapons, the ‘Black Forest Rambo,’ in Oppenau, July 17, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 17 July 2020

Germany’s ‘Black Forest Rambo’ nabbed after six-day manhunt

  • Yves Rausch, 31, was found sitting in a bush after a tip-off from two witnesses, with four guns visible in front of him
  • Rausch had fled into the forest on Sunday after he managed to disarm four police officers, sparking a huge search operation

BERLIN: After a huge six-day manhunt, German police said Friday they have caught the “Black Forest Rambo,” a heavily armed suspect accused of stealing officers’ weapons and going on the run in the woods.
Yves Rausch, 31, was found sitting in a bush after a tip-off from two witnesses, “with four guns visible in front of him,” said Juergen Rieger, the head of the search operation.
The suspect also had an axe in his lap and one further gun, and there was a letter in front of him, Rieger said.
Rausch was slightly injured in the arrest, as was a member of the special forces who was cut with the axe.
“I am relieved, happy and grateful that this exceptional situation for our town has come to an end,” Uwe Gaiser, the mayor of the village of Oppenau, told reporters.
Rausch had fled into the forest on Sunday after he managed to disarm four police officers, sparking a huge search operation.
More than 2,500 officers combed the area with the help of special forces, helicopters, sniffer dogs and thermal imaging cameras for the fugitive, nicknamed “Black Forest Rambo” by the German press after pictures emerged of him dressed in combat gear.
The drama began on Sunday morning when police were informed that a suspicious man was hanging around a hut in the forest near Oppenau.
Four officers sent to the scene said he cooperated at first when approached.
But then he “suddenly and completely unexpectedly” threatened them with a gun and made them put down their own weapons before running away with them.
Police had earlier warned that he may also be carrying a bow and arrow.
Oppenau prosecutor Herwig Schaefer described Rausch on Tuesday as a “weapons freak” with a “great affinity for arms.”
He has a long criminal record, including charges related to the possession of illegal weapons, theft and bodily injury.
He received a juvenile sentence of 3.5 years in 2010 after he shot an acquaintance with a crossbow, seriously injuring her.
Police found child pornography on his mobile phone while investigating him for the possession of explosives in 2019.
Schools, kindergartens and the local swimming pool were closed on Monday as a precaution.
Investigators initially said they did not suspect any far-right or other political motive for Rausch’s behavior.
However, they later revealed he had received an eight-month suspended sentence for incitement to hatred when he was 15 for altering the letters on a sign for a youth organization so that it read “Juden weg” (“Jews be gone“).
They also said he had made a fake bomb and was known for anti-Semitic statements as well as the use of swastikas and SS symbols.
Rausch had been homeless since autumn last year and had been squatting in the hut where he was spotted on Sunday.
According to a former neighbor who described him as “not an easy person,” he Rausch did odd jobs as a rail worker and a golf course caretaker, the Bild tabloid reported.
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.
He 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.
Rausch will be examined by a psychiatrist due to the “gravity of the crime” and his past history, Schaefer said.
In addition, a blood sample will be taken to check whether he was under the influence of drugs or other substances.


First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

Updated 20 September 2020

First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

  • Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird is estimated to have a global population of only around 100
  • It is believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration

DUBAI: One of the rarest birds in the world has been spotted in Abu Dhabi by two members of the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC), according to state news agency WAM. 
Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird - estimated to have a global population of only around 100 - was seen by Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, WAM reported on Saturday.
Believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration, the Steppe Whimbrel is an extremely rare sub-species of the widespread Whimbrel, which regularly passes through the Emirates in spring and autumn.
The Steppe Whimbrel seen in Abu Dhabi is believed to have been born this year, making it the first time a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted anywhere in the world, according to WAM.
“On August 29, we were studying around 20 whimbrels on the Saadiyat Beach golf course. We were stunned when one flew off showing the distinctive white wings, clearly different from the other birds,” Campbell and Lloyd told WAM. 
“We immediately realized the potential significance of this so we concentrated on observing the bird and obtaining photographs, allowing us to check the key identification features,” they said.
Campbell and Lloyd then shared their photographs with world’s top expert on Steppe Whimbrels, Gary Allport, who confirmed their findings. 
“The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms our suspicion that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian peninsula region,” Allport said. 
“What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field…It’s an amazing find,” he added. 
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Course management was delighted with the discovery. 
“When you look at the significance of sighting the Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi, its history and the subspecies actually being declared extinct in 1995, it is pretty amazing,” Clinton Southorn, Cluster Director of Agronomy for managers Troon Golf, told WAM.
“This is one of the reasons the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has worked hard to achieve its Audubon certification and showcase the positive environmental impact the course can have on the environment,” he added.