Condemnations trail attack on the office of Karamba Diaby, a Senegal-born member of the Bundestag, in Halle. Germany’s foreign minister called the attack “disgusting and cowardly”
The citizens’ office of Karamba Diaby, an SPD member of the Bundestag, in Halle was attacked between Tuesday and Wednesday. Diaby said the windowpanes had five bullet holes. “I condemn this violence. I know that the police and the security agencies are investigating. The background is not yet clear, so I cannot comment on it yet,” he said.
The office employees were shocked – especially since there is a desk directly behind the window and the bullet holes are at head height, they told reporters. The attack must have happened between 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, when it was first noticed when the workers resumed for duty. The office was not occupied at the time of the attack.
Several politicians in the country have condemned the attack.
The chairman of the SPD in Saxony-Anhalt, Burkhard Lischka, slammed the attack, widely believed to be the handiwork of right-wing extremists. “To use violence against those who hold alternative views is always to be condemned. Trying to intimidate a freely elected member of parliament and their staff is an attack on the heart of democracy,” said Lischka on Wednesday. “But I know: Karamba Diaby is not intimidated.” The SPD Saxony-Anhalt stood at Diaby’s side.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) described the incident on Twitter as “disgusting and cowardly”.
“We will continue to work with you for a free, tolerant and diverse democracy,” he said.
The Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt also condemned “all forms of violence and attacks on elected officials”.
“Saxony-Anhalt is and remains a cosmopolitan state where there is no place for intimidation, violence and agitation”.
“I am incredibly shocked and angry. The consequences for your political work must not pose a threat to you and your team. Something like that must not happen in our country. Complete solidarity,” commented Aminatta Touré, the vice-president of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holtstein.
The attack is not the first on the politician’s office. In June 2015, unknown persons threw objects at the window of the office. The constituency office of the CDU member of the Bundestag and former Premier Christoph Bergner was also attacked at the time.
In April 2016, Diaby received a racist postcard from the far-right party “The Third Way”. The postcard was designed in the manner of a supposed voucher and it recommended that the recipient travel to Africa with the words “Whoever does not love Germany should leave Germany”. At that time, several politicians nationwide received the right-wing hate post.
The latest attack shows the danger that elected officials face from right-wing extremists, an issue that the federal government addressed recently after a report showing the increasing threats against politicians, especially those who hold liberal views on migration.
Karamba Diaby is an SPD member of the Bundestag for Halle, Kabelsketal, Landsberg and Petersberg. He has two offices in Halle, one constituency office in Grosse Märkerstrasse and the citizens’ office in Kleine Ulrichstrasse. He is a member of the SPD parliamentary board and the party’s integration spokesman.
Diaby was born in Senegal in 1961. In the mid-1980s, he came to the defunct East Germany on a scholarship, where he studied chemistry at the University of Halle and then did his doctorate. Since the mid-1990s, Diaby has worked in various social projects with a focus on education and integration. From 2011 to 2013 he was a consultant with the integration office of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Diaby was on the Halle City Council from 2009 to 2015. He was elected into the German Bundestag in 2013 and reelected in 2017. He’s currently the only member of the parliament of African origin.