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UDA prepares to announce it has completed arms decommissioning

The Loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association, (UDA), is understood to have completed decommissioning its weapons.

It is expected the arms move by the largest loyalist paramilitary group will be confirmed at a news conference this morning hosted by the politically aligned Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG). General John de Chastelain and his colleagues on the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) have been in the North since Sunday.

It is understood that independent witnesses -- including a church witness -- observed the latest decommissioning.

A senior and authoritative source believes the arms move amounts to "full" decommissioning, but added this would have to be confirmed by the IICD.

In its first decommissioning move last June, the UDA put a number of weapons beyond use, but was still holding significant quantities of guns, ammunition and explosives.

The words of any IICD statement will be read carefully to see if the Commission believes that all arms under the control of the UDA Inner Council leadership have been given up.

Irish Independent