Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Basque separatists ETA announce dissolution

Basque separatists ETA announce dissolution

Basque separatist group ETA has announced it is fully disbanding, marking the definitive end to its deadly independence campaign and to western Europe's last armed insurgency.

Responding to the announcement, Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido vowed to keep investigating unresolved ETA crimes.

Although the group's dissolution has been widely anticipated, Spanish news agency EFE reported that Spanish anti-terrorist authorities have said that they hoped for more.

Like many in his native Basque Country, Garcia had long expected the move.

Global mediators are organizing a peace conference in southwest France on May 4.

Eta complains that the almost 250 of its members who are in Spanish prisons are deliberately kept in jails far from their families.

"There are musings that Spain may be considering releasing ETA prisoners", he said. It is noted that before the Basque Country a new opportunity to end the conflict and begin to build the future.

Consuelo Ordonez, who leads victims group COVITE and whose brother was killed by ETA, said that "the only decent sentence that the terrorists could have uttered starts and ends with, "We should never have existed".

ETA, which stands for "Basque Homeland and Freedom" in the Basque language and was born in 1958, carried out bombings, shootings and kidnappings, a lot of them after Spain transitioned to democracy from the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco after his death in 1975. The group, originally gathering youths close to the Basque Nationalist Party, dubbed its self ETA for Euskadi ta Askatasuna or "Basque Homeland and Freedom" in the region's language.

Despite Franco's death in 1975, the group continued its armed campaign for Basque self-determination and the eventual independence of the region that includes territories in Spain and France. But the end of its campaign has not erased bitterness towards militants who killed 21 people in a single attack at a Barcelona supermarket in 1987. Most of its senior leaders were arrested. "Spanish security forces will continue chasing the terrorists wherever they are".

The savagery of ETA's bomb attacks contributed to an erosion of popular support.

The April 16 letter said that while ETA is now consigned to history, the drive for Basque independence would continue. The recipients included the Basque regional government and ex-UN Sectary-General Kofi Annan, who was one of the mediators in the dispute.

A hundred intellectuals and victims held a press conference yesterday in San Sebastian to demand ETA comes clean about unsolved murders, condemn its terrorism, end public tributes to terrorists and respect all its victims.

Civil society groups that have overseen ETA's staggered finale have scheduled an event in the southern French town of Cambo-les-Bains on Friday to mark the organization's end.

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