Basque Separatists in Spain Promise to Disarm

Hopes are high that 40 years of militant activity by Eta have come to an end

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The Basque separatist group Eta in Spain is set to make a historic move Friday by giving up its bomb-making equipment and guns.

The group has used the arms as part of a series of attacks aimed at securing independence for the region of Basque in northern Spain. Over 800 people are thought to have died in the prolonged campaign of violence. The move to disarm, reported by the Guardian, comes two years after Eta first announced it would stop targeting parts of Spain and would move toward a permanent end to hostilities, seeking politics rather than violence as a means for securing an independent Basque.

There are fears that Eta might aim to delay the process by extracting further benefits from Spain’s Prime Minister, Marian Rajoy. In response, Rajoy’s government has taken a hard line, insisting that Eta surrenders with no conditions attached and accepts defeat, the Guardian reports.

One of Eta’s founder members, Julen Madariaga, said he’s “glad that Eta has changed,” and that “already in the 1990s it was obvious it was driving people away from the separatist cause.”