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10 September 2009 

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Pro-British Group in Northern Ireland Pledges to Give up Arms

08 September 2009
Map of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's last pro-British paramilitary group said it will get rid of its weapons within six months as police announced the discovery of a huge bomb in the province.

The Ulster Defense Association announced its plans to an international decommissioning body in what British and Irish authorities are calling a milestone in Northern Ireland's peace process.  

The association, blamed for the deaths of 259 people, said in a statement the struggle has ended, and the need for armed resistance is gone.  

Disarming Protestant groups has long been a goal of the peace process. The Irish Republican Army, the Catholic separatist group, formally abandoned violence in 2005.

Separately, authorities say army experts defused a huge bomb outside a village, Forkhill, near the province's southern border with Ireland.

They say a wire from the 272 kilogram device led across the border, indicating that a hardline Irish Republican Army splinter group opposed to British rule in Northern Ireland had placed the explosives.

The Protestants want Northern Ireland to remain part of Britain, while Catholics want an end to British rule and unification with Ireland.

The 1998 Good Friday peace accord halted three decades of sectarian violence and led to the creation of a power-sharing government in the British province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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