European Interest

Basque separatists ETA writes its final chapter

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
ETA members fire blanks during the Day of the Basque Soldier of 2006.

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

ETA, which was formed in 1959, waged more than four decades of attacks, killings and kidnappings in its fight for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France. At least 829 people died in the attacks.

“ETA has decided to declare its historical cycle and functions terminated, putting an end to its journey,” the group said in a letter published Wednesday by Spanish online newspaper El Diario.

“ETA has completely dissolved all of its structures and declared an end to its political initiative.”

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the letter was dated April 16 and addressed to various groups and figures involved in recent peace efforts, including former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

Meanwhile, some 300 ETA members are imprisoned in Spain, France and Portugal and up to 100 are still on the run, according to Forum Social, a group close to prisoners’ families.

According to AFP, ETA victims or relatives say the separatist group should condemn their history of violence and shed light on more than 350 unsolved crimes.

“This is not the end of ETA we wanted,” Consuelo Ordonez, head of the Covite victims’ association, said on May 2 at a gathering in San Sebastian, the Basque city most hit by ETA attacks.

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