OFFICIAL IRA PRONTA AL DISARMO
L’Official IRA potrebbe iniziare lo smantellamento dei propri arsenali entro poche settimane
A darne l’annuncio è una figura molto vicina al gruppo paramilitare repubblicano, che ha definito il disarmo come “imminente”, “pieno” e “sostanziale”.
L’Official IRA pur avendo abbandonato la lotta armata ben 37 anni fa, è risaputo sia ancora in possesso di una notevole quantità di armi.
Quando annunciò il cessate il fuoco nel 1972, i suoi arsenali erano composti da circa 400 fucili, un certo numero di mitragliatrici pesanti e decine di pistole.
Il mese scorso l’Irish News aveva rivelato l’esistenza di una rete di colloqui tra la leadership dell’OIRA e il Gen. de Chastelain dell’Independent Commission on Decommissioning.
Il procedimento di disarmo, annunciato privatamente l’11 ottobre, potrebbe richiedere alcune settimane e terminare comunque entro la fine del mese di novembre.
L’annuncio dello smantellamento degli arsenali dell’Official IRA ha spiazzato tutti, perchè il suo nominativo non è mai stato inserito nelle 19 relazioni stilati dall’IICD.
L’OIRA, o ‘Stickies’ come viene soprannominata, nacque nel 1971 da una scissione dell’IRA. Sancito il cessate il fuoco nel 1972, il gruppo paramilitare ha fatto uso sporadico dei propri armamenti solo in occasione di faide intestine repubblicane e per mettere a segno alcuni attacchi ‘punitivi’. E’ stata anche accusato di un coinvolgimento in attività criminose.
Nell’ottobre del 2005 l’ex leader dell’OIRA, Sean Garland, fu arrestato durante una conferenza del Workers Party (Partito dei Lavoratori) a Belfast, in seguito ad una richiesta di estradizione negli USA da parte dell’FBI, per essere interrogato in merito ad un’operazione internazionale multi-milionaria contro la contraffazione.
L’Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, non ha fino ad ora fornito alcuna conferma.
Official IRA to begin decommissioning ‘within weeks’ (The Irish News)
The Official IRA (OIRA) will begin decommissioning its weapons within weeks, a senior source close to the process last night confirmed.
Last month The Irish News revealed that the OIRA had begun talks with General John de Chastelain’s Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).
News of the talks had caused some surprise in political and security circles as the OIRA has been on ceasefire for the last 37 years.
Despite having abandoned its “armed struggle” for more than three decades the OIRA is understood to have retained a significant amount of arms.
When it announced its ceasefire in 1972, it was believed to possess up to 400 rifles, a number of heavy machine guns and dozens of handguns.
The organisation is understood to have been keen to resolve the arms issue before General de Chastelain ends his decommissioning role in February next year.
A source close to the process last night confirmed that OIRA decommissioning was “imminent” and would be “substantive” and “full”.
Veteran OIRA members are said to have been informed that it was about to begin decommissioning its weapons at a private function on October 11.
It is understood that the actual decommissioning process, when it begins, could take a number of weeks but would be fully completed by the end of November.
This summer General de Chastelain announced that the UVF had put all its weapons beyond use and the UDA had committed to destroying its arsenal by February when the government’s deadline for decommissioning ends.
The Provisional IRA completed its decommissioning in 2005.
Last month the INLA announced that it was abandoning its “armed struggle” but refused to confirm that it would decommission.
However, there is speculation that talks have taken place between General de Chastelain and the INLA.
Confirmation that the OIRA was preparing to decommission its guns came as an unexpected surprise as the organisation had never been mentioned in any of the IICD’s previous 19 reports.
The OIRA, or ‘Stickies’ as it was nicknamed, emerged from a split in the IRA in 1971.
The organisation was responsible for 52 killings during the Troubles.
Despite apparently being on ceasefire since 1972 the group has sporadically used weapons during internal republican disputes or for so-called punishment attacks.
It has also been accused of involvement in criminal activity.
In October 2005 former OIRA leader Sean Garland was arrested at a Workers Party conference in Belfast after a request by the FBI that he be extradited to the US to be questioned about a multi-million-dollar international counterfeiting operation.
The IICD has refused to confirm or deny that it is in discussions with the OIRA.
“IICD does not comment on its work,” a spokesman said.
“However, the IICD is open to all organisations on ceasefire until the end of its mandate next February.”