German officials announced on Wednesday their plan to verify tens of thousands of residence permits granted to asylum seekers after a German soldier suspected of preparing an attack managed to pass himself off as a Syrian refugee.
The verification checks, which will start this summer, will concern up to 100,000 cases filed over the last two years by asylum seekers aged between 18 and 40 from a dozen countries, according to the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
The operation follows a scandal that recently splashed the German army: an officer of the Bundeswehr, Franco Albrecht, suspected of preparing attacks against leftist personalities and foreigners, had passed himself off for several Months for a Syrian refugee even though he speaks no Arabic.
According to the investigation into the case, the military man intended to put the blame for his attacks on the Syrian migrants by leaving false red flags.
The Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees (Bamf), which was responsible for hearing the applicants and deciding on their application, failed to catch the ruse and even granted a one-year residency permit to the 28-year-old soldier with a monthly allowance of 409 euros.
Franco Albrecht, who spoke a little French, had moreover presented himself under the identity of David Benjamin, claiming to belong to a French minority of Syria.
For German officials, the incredible case has rekindled embarrassing questions about the management of more than one million asylum applications since the influx of 2015/2016.
“It is unfortunate and must have consequences,” insisted Mr de Maiziere, while assuring that the case of the officer had no equivalent.