Basque militant group ETA, one of Europe’s biggest separatist groups, began turning in its weapons on Saturday in what French authorities hailed as a “major step” in ending the insurgency. The group handed over an inventory of its weapons and the locations of its arsenals at a ceremony held in the French city of Bayonne on Saturday.
The move ends four decades of insurgent struggle, during which some 800 people were killed as the group fought to set up an independent country straddling Spain and France. French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl praised the weapons handover as a “major step,” saying a police operation was already underway to secure weapons at eight different sites. The handover saw 120 firearms, three tons of explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition turned in, according to the BBC.
Although the group declared a ceasefire in 2011, it did not disarm until now.