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Customs Officials Killed in Germany

February 10, 1998

GOERLITZ, Germany (AP) _ Hours after two German customs officials were shot and killed on the Polish border today, a man trying to crash into Germany from Switzerland opened fire, slaying a German customs officer and a Swiss colleague.

German Finance Minister Theo Waigel issued a statement after the first shooting, east of Dresden, calling it ``the worst incident involving German customs officials in postwar Germany.″

While Germany and other Western European nations are moving toward open borders, Germany has tightened controls in recent months along its frontiers to guard against illegal immigrants, primarily Kurds and Turks from the south but also migrants and contraband from the east.

On the Polish border, at Goerlitz, German officials said a Kazak man shot and killed two customs officers inspecting a tourist bus entering Germany.

The man grabbed one of the officers’ pistols when they started to remove a grate from a ventilation duct in the back of the bus. Both customs officers were killed, and two Kazak travelers were wounded, German authorities said.

The shooter tried to flee through a back window of the bus, injuring himself as he broke through the glass, German authorities said. He was arrested at the border crossing at Ludwigsdorf, east of Dresden.

Polish officials said the bus was carrying 19 Kazak passengers.

The officials reported a third injury but gave no details. They also said German officers entered the bus with a dog, which drew attention to some luggage.

Polish officials said all passengers on the bus presented entry visas for Germany when the vehicle entered Poland from Belarus on Monday.

In the Swiss border incident, German officials said a man driving a car full of handguns, explosives and a machine gun crashed through the barricades at Konstanz, opening fire as he sped into Germany.

When other officials tried to stop the car, which had Swiss plates, the driver turned the gun on himself. German police said he was seriously wounded, contradicting earlier Swiss statements that he had died.

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