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Solider Who Defected 7 Months Ago Returns to East Germany

April 14, 1987

BERLIN (AP) _ An East German army officer who defected to West Germany seven months ago returned to his Communist homeland carrying ″many important documents″ East Berlin’s state-run ADN news agency reported Tuesday.

ADN said Lt. Col. Dietmar Mann, a battalion commander, returned to East Germany of his own free will after he ″freed himself from the protection of the West German Intelligence Agency.″

The agency did not say what type of documents Mann took with him to East Germany, but added that East German officials ″are now studying them thoroughly.″

In its brief report, ADN said Mann returned to East Germany on Saturday, but did not give further details.

A spokesman for West Germany’s Federal Criminal Office, Hans-Juergen Foerster, said it was aware of the ADN report and were trying to confirm it.

Foerster declined further comment on the case, and did not say where Mann had been living in recent months.

He also declined to speculate on whether Mann had originally defected with the intention of spying on West Germany, then returning home.

Mann fled to the West on Aug. 31, escaping across a section of the border his unit was responsible for guarding.

He was the highest-ranking East German military officer to defect to West Germany since 1981, when an army lieutenant colonel and regiment commander fled to the West for 48 hours, then returned home.

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