I GRUPPI PARAMILITARI SI PREPARANO A DISTRUGGERE I PROPRI ARMAMENTI
Il disarmo dei gruppi paramilitari è tutt’ora parziale in quanto non hanno ancora provveduto a smantellare i propri arsenali i tre maggiori gruppi lealisti, quali: Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) e Red Hand Commando (RHC).
Shaun Woodward, Segretario di Stato per l’Irlanda del Nord, lo scorso hanno aveva dichiarato che il termine ultimo per il disarmo avrebbe potuto coinicdere con la fine del mese di agosto di quest’anno. A questo proposito una fonte vicino all’UVF ha dichiarato che la data del 29 agosto, data della parata lealista conosciuta con il nome ‘Last Saturday’.
Solo quando i gruppi lealisti avranno smantellato i propri armamenti, l’International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), capeggiata dal generale canadese John de Chastelain, potrà stilare un elenco con il numero completo delle armi consegnate (sia dell’IRA che dei gruppi lealisti) ed il metodo di distruzione utilizzato. Il rapporto verrà poi consegnato al Governo che avrà facoltà di renderlo noto.
L’arsenale lealista non dovrebbe comunque essere equivalente a quello dell’IRA (smantellato nel 2005) che ha potuto contare sulla fornitura di armi provenienti dalla Libia. Ad oggi, grazie ai Servizi di Sicurezza si sa che le armi consegnate dal gruppo paramilitare repubblicano comprendevano: 1000 fucili, tre tonnellate di Semtex, 25 mitragliatrici, sette missili terra-aria, sette lanciafiamme, 20 granate a propulsione e 100 pistole.
Paramilitary groups ‘preparing to destroy weapons’ (Telegraph)
The move will allow the publication of a complete list of all terrorist weaponry, IRA as well as loyalist, which has so far been put beyond use.
The disposal of weapons will be a co-ordinated move by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), and the Red Hand Commando (RHC), the province’s three main loyalist terror groups.
The process will be supervised by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) which is headed by John de Chastelain, a Canadian general, and also includes US and Finnish representatives.
De Chastelain and his team reported in 2005 that the IRA had decommissioned its entire arsenal to their satisfaction, but, under special legislation, cannot reveal either the number of weapons involved or the method of destruction until they “complete their mandate” by overseeing the destruction of loyalist weapons.
When that happens they will forward a full report to the government which is free to publish it.
The loyalist armoury is not nearly as large as the IRA’s stockpile of weapons, which is mainly supplied by Libya. Security forces say the IRA arsenal included 1,000 rifles, three tonnes of Semtex explosives, 25 machine guns, seven surface to air missiles as well as seven flame throwers, 20 rocket propelled grenades and 100 handguns.
Unlike the IRA, the loyalists may allow photographs to be taken of the decommissioning process. The IICD will examine the weapons to determine that they are genuine. However under special legislation which expires in December, the police are prohibited from forensically testing the weapons for the purpose of prosecution.
Shaun Woodward, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced last year that the legislation would be ended early if the loyalists had not made some progress by the end of August. One source close to the UVF said that a date of 29 August, the date of a loyalist march known as “Last Saturday” was being considered.
In recent weeks the loyalists have been preparing the way with a series of talks with political parties and church leaders. They met Cardinal Sean Brady, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, for the first time last month. Dr Donald Patton, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, who met representatives of the UDA on Tuesday said “”They are seeking to move towards the point of decommissioning.”
Loyalist sources hope to announce the arms decision at a press conference where leading loyalist figures including John “Bunter” Graham, named in court as the “Brigadier General” of the UVF, Jackie McDonald, the leader of the UDA and Augustus “Gusty” Spence, the founding father of the modern UVF, will throw their weight behind the decision.