Leipzig (AP) – While concealing the weapons of an elite soldier from Saxony, an officer admitted that irregularities had occurred in the ammunition issue during Special Forces Command (KSK) combat drills.
There were shootings where the prescribed separation between the head of the exercise and the ammunition issuer apparently had not taken place, a KSK lieutenant colonel said as a witness in the Leipzig court on Friday. In special combat drills that lasted hours and days, each soldier took as much ammunition as he thought he needed.
The system was also based on trust and was the responsibility of the head of the target practice, who had to abide by the rules. However, all soldiers had been instructed that offenses were punishable by imprisonment. According to his knowledge, there were no secret ammunition boxes, stressed the 44-year-old, who has only worked in the unit since 2019.
A 46-year-old elite special forces soldier faces violations of the War Weapons Control Act, the Arms Act, and the Explosives Act. During a house search in May last year in Collm (North Saxony district), the researchers discovered, among other things, two kilos of professional explosives and writings with extreme right-wing content. In addition, the soldier had buried several thousand rounds of rifle and pistol ammunition, an AK47 assault rifle, a crossbow, a smoke grenade, and firearms and weapon parts in the yard. The suspect was in charge of target practice at the KSK for years.
The witness – as officer in the KSK responsible for arms management – emphasized that the combat exercises at the KSK were significantly more complex than in conventional firing exercises of the Bundeswehr. Much more ammunition was fired, sometimes in the six-figure range for week-long exercises. Subsequently, it was not checked how much each individual soldier had fired. The Lieutenant Colonel emphasized that he was not aware of any secret ammunition boxes.
The case is also politically explosive after it became known that elite soldiers were able to return hoarded or potentially stolen ammunition from March to May last year without the threat of repercussions. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) is investigating disciplinary proceedings against the commander for irregularities in the handling of ammunition at the Special Forces Command (KSK). He himself had ordered the collection of ammunition by verbal order on 1 April 2020.
More than 50,000 ammunition items were returned on Friday, according to the lieutenant colonel. However, it is not known where these come from. In addition, the items delivered had not previously appeared as a difference at the KSK and were therefore not missing. Much of the ammunition was old too.