Monday 23 September 2019

Basque militant group ETA announces it has ‘completely dissolved’

The group acknowledged its responsibility in failing to solve the Basque ‘political conflict’.

ETA members, pictured in 2011 (AP)
ETA members, pictured in 2011 (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

The Basque militant group ETA has announced it has “completely dissolved all its structures”, according to a letter sent to Basque institutions and civil society groups.

In the letter, published by Spanish online newspaper on Wednesday, ETA said it acknowledges its responsibility in failing to solve the Basque “political conflict”.

ETA, whose initials stand for “Euskadi ta Askatasuna” – or “Basque Homeland and Freedom” – killed 853 people in its armed campaign to create an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.

Founded in the midst of General Francisco Franco’s regime, the group grabbed global headlines when it killed the dictator’s anointed successor, prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco, in 1973.

The decision, ETA said in the letter, “doesn’t overcome the conflict that the Basque Country maintains with Spain and with France”.

Journalists stand beside a banner with some photographies of terrorist attacks during a tribute for all people killed by the armed separatist group ETA (AP)

It added: “The Basque Country is now before a new opportunity to finally close the conflict and build a collective future.

“Let’s not repeat the errors, let’s not allow for problems to rot.”

Responding to the announcement, Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido vowed to keep investigating unresolved crimes attributed to ETA. He said police will “continue to pursue the terrorists, wherever they may be”.

“ETA obtained nothing through its promise to stop killing, and it will obtain nothing by announcing what they call dissolution,” he told reporters.

The group’s bloodiest period came as Spain transitioned from dictatorship to democracy in the early 1980s, targeting not only members of the military and police forces but also politicians, entrepreneurs, civilians and some of its own repentant militants who wanted to leave.

At least 60 other people were also killed at the hands of death squads set up by members of Spain’s security forces.

PA Media

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