INLA decommissioning revealed

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New details have emerged about how the INLA decommissioned its arsenal of weapons and explosives last year.

The republican paramilitary group finally gave up its weapons to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) in February 2010.

The announcement that the INLA had disarmed was made at a press conference in Belfast by Derry man Martin McMonagle and had been organised through negotiations with a group of facilitators including trade union leaders, an academic, and a Creggan-based community worker.

It is not known where the destruction of the guns and explosives took place but it is believed that the weaponry was brought to a location near Strabane before being handed over.

Explaining how the process was carried out, a source said: “The INLA gathered all the weaponry and explosives under their control over a period of months and put it into one dump on the Tyrone/Donegal border

“Then the INLA handed the weaponry over to facilitators who put them into a number of vehicles and they transported them to a pick-up spot. A number of armed INLA volunteers escorted the facilitators to that spot and observed the handover.

“Once that weaponry was handed over (to the IICD,) the armed INLA volunteers gave their weapons to the facilitators.”

It is believed the weapons haul included rifles, handguns, ammunition and commercial explosives including Semtex and landmines.

The information comes as the IICD, led by retired Canadian general John deChastelain, prepares to publish its final report on paramilitary decommissioning.

The report is likely to include details of the weapons destroyed during the process but it is believed a comprehensive breakdown of the arsenals destroyed by each group will not be made public.