AUTHORITIES in Estonia have tracked and captured the leader of a far-right terrorist group, who turned out to be a 13-year-old boy.

Investigators arrested the young leader of the “Feuerkrieg Division” (FDK), or “fire war division”, an online group with members spread across Belgium, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Latvia, Germany, Russia, the US, and Canada.

The teenager operated online under the names “commander” or “kriegsherr” (“warlord” in German) on encrypted online forums, and was responsible for the recruitment and admission of new members.

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He also shared bomb-making instructions, spoke about planning an attack on London, and suggested organizing military training camps in February to commemorate the “100th birthday” of Adolf Hitler’s former political party, the NSDAP.

Due to the suspect’s age, he cannot be prosecuted in Estonia or named in the international press. Instead, authorities will have to seek other legal measures to protect him from himself and others.

According to the US-based NGO the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the FKD was established in October 2018 in the Baltics. From there it grew to be active worldwide and had, until recently, some 70 members in 15 countries.

The FKD was heavily influenced by the Atomwaffen Division (“Atomic Weapon Division” in German), a neo-Nazi group allegedly tied to five murders across the US.

The “FKD advocates similar core beliefs, racist and vitriolic propaganda with shared graphics and general subculture. While the bulk of their activity is online, members have engaged in leafleting efforts, distributing violent, racist and antisemitic propaganda,” according to the ADL.

As recently as October the group wrote a series of tenets such as “we are not afraid to die and we kill anyone who gets in our way”. FDK announced its dissolution on February 8, though authorities found internal chats indicating they would continue under a new name.

The administration and management of the FKD was all conducted online, enabling the Estonian ringleader to hide his identity, including his real age. Ironically, the “commander” set the minimum age for recruits at 16, while he himself was three years under that limit. “The members of the organisation were, of course, unaware of this fact,” wrote the Eesti Ekspress, the Estonian paper which broke the story.

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Alar Ridamae, a representative of the Estonian Internal Security Police (KAPO), told that paper: “Internet radicalisation is a wider societal problem and indeed a global phenomenon that we are working with international partners to tackle.

“People with similar extremist views communicate with each other internationally, and KAPO is aware of it.”

Ridamae added that the security service was verifying the allegations about the participation of Estonians in the online discussions of extremists.

“When there is a suspicion of danger, we intervene to prevent things from getting worse, which is what we were doing in this case,” he said, referring to the 13-year-old FDK ringleader.

He added that children and young people are especially at risk from online radicalisation, as they are more vulnerable than adults.

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