ETA seeking to contact jailed leaders for location of weapons caches

Left-wing sources say move points to imminent announcement of intention to disarm

ETA is attempting to gather information about the whereabouts of its arms caches with a view to full disarmament, radical Basque nationalist sources have confirmed. The problem is that nobody in the current leadership, which is formed from the remnants of the terrorist organization's youth ranks, has that information.

Therefore, ETA is trying to contact Mikel Albisu and Soledad Iparraguirre, long-time ETA leaders who have been in jail in France since 2004, and who have vast knowledge of the apparatus of the group. During a court appearance in Paris last year, Albisu presented himself as an interlocutor for ETA inmates and called for the organization to negotiate a disarmament program with the Spanish authorities.

The International Verification Committee headed by Ram Manikaningam maintains contact with ETA and is preparing the ground for its dissolution. ETA announced an end to armed activity in October 2011. It is also seeking to facilitate attempts to locate ETA's arms dumps.

Sources from the abertzale left-wing nationalist political sphere say everything points to an imminent announcement by ETA that it intends to disarm, as Sortu party leader Pernando Barrena suggested in July.

A potential stumbling block is that some ETA factions are reluctant to proceed with disarmament until the Spanish government agrees to negotiate over the collective situation of its inmates. Mariano Rajoy's administration refuses to do so unless ETA first hands over its weapons and its prisoners sign up to the Nanclares reinsertion program, which includes rejecting terrorism and admitting the pain and suffering caused by the group's bloody four-decade campaign.

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