ETA suspects arrested in west, central France

17th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

BORDEAUX, France, June 17 (AFP) - A man suspected of being recruitment chief for the Basque separatist group ETA was one of eight people detained by police in central France early Thursday, the interior ministry said.

BORDEAUX, France, June 17 (AFP) - A man suspected of being recruitment chief for the Basque separatist group ETA was one of eight people detained by police in central France early Thursday, the interior ministry said.

Ignacio Lopez de Vergara Astola was described by the ministry as responsible for "reserves, recruitment and training" for the organisation.

Of the eight, four were arrested in the town of Limoges, three near Le Mans and one at Angers.

Stepped up cooperation between the French and Spanish police and justice systems has led to a steep increase in the number of ETA suspects detained in France in recent years.

According to official figures, more than 120 suspected ETA members are in prison in France. In 2003 some 50 people were detained across southwest France; and 14 suspects were extradited to Spain.

ETA is held responsible for the deaths of over 800 people in a three-decade struggle to establish an independent homeland straddling northern Spain and south-west France.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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