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Child’s murder sparks demands for tougher checks at Swiss-German border

Politicians are calling for heightened security measures at Germany’s border with Switzerland after an eight-year-old boy was killed by a refugee in Frankfurt on Monday 29 July.

The Eritrean suspect pushed the child and his mother in front of an oncoming train at the city’s main railway station. While the mother survived, her son was killed immediately.

It was later revealed by German authorities that the Swiss police had released a warrant for the suspect’s arrest after he had been involved in a series of violent altercations in Zurich. He had also received psychiatric treatment.

The incident has worsened pre-existing tensions in Germany surrounding migration and border management policies. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said he will push for more checks along the Swiss-German border.

“I will do everything possible to arrange intelligent controls at the border,” he stated.

He received support from Thomas Ströbl, the interior minister of Baden-Württemberg, a German state on the border with Switzerland. Ströbl said, “illegal border crossings must be prevented.”

Alice Weidel, the leader of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany, went further, saying, “Not only the border with Switzerland should be protected to ensure the security of citizens.”

But Seehofer has also received criticism from his political opponents. Benjamin Strasser, the interior affairs spokesperson for the liberal Free Democrats, pointed out that random checks already take place along the border.

He added: “Even with such controls, the suspected Frankfurt perpetrator would not have been stopped because there was no Europewide arrest warrant against him.”

Germany has been one of the main destination countries for asylum seekers fleeing conflict and poverty in recent years. Indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government originally welcomed asylum seekers.

However, in recent months, there has been a change in attitudes. Key political figures, such as the president of the German Office for Migration and Refugees, Han-Eckhard Sommer, have called for stricter adherence to border management policies.

TMP – 29/08/2019

Photo credit: Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil / shutterstock.com

Photo caption: Frankfurt am Main, Germany – July 30 2019: Flowers and candles near the platform where the 8 year kid was pushed in front of an approaching ICE train.