Activists arrested during an anti-terrorist sweep across New Zealand were planning a war in which white people would die, according to documents released Wednesday.
Police arrested 17 people on Monday and recovered several weapons during a series of raids targeting Maori and environmental activists.
At a bail hearing for one of the arrested men, Jamie Lockett, prosecutors said he had sent a series of text messages saying he intended to launch a war.
The messages, intercepted by police, were said to include and “I’m declaring war on this country very soon.”
Lockett was described in court as an active participant in a group that had the potential to make a violent impact on New Zealand society.
Prominent Maori activist Tame Iti was also preparing to declare war, according to police documents reported in the Dominion Post newspaper.
The documents, disclosed by police to lawyers for the accused, showed authorities had been monitoring Iti for 18 months, videoing his training camps and intercepting text messages, the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
Iti was said to have stated three months ago that he had stopped all his other activities “to make war on New Zealand.”
The source described the movement as “comical” and “amateurish” with the group buying military uniforms from an army surplus store.
Police Association president Greg O’Connor said the operation was “triggered by credible intelligence of a serious threat to New Zealand’s safety and security.
“We need to realise there are fringe elements in our society, as in all others, that draw inspiration and encouragement from extremist activities overseas that most of us would find horrifying.”
Police spokesman Jon Neilson said although weapons and “other armaments” had been seized during the raids, police would not go into specifics nor confirm media reports that a napalm bomb was among the contraband.
Most of those arrested face firearms charges.