France charges 'ETA members' who fled police

16th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Two alleged members of Basque separatist group ETA have been charged in France after being detained with a gun and false documents when they tried to flee a road checkpoint, a judicial source said Wednesday.

The two men have been charged with carrying and transporting weapons in an organised gang, forgery and criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise and will be held in preventive detention, the source said.

Spanish media have identified the men as Andoni Lariz Bustinduy, an alleged member of an ETA commando group suspected of carrying out several armed attacks, and Urtzi Etxebarria Aierdi.

A Smith & Wesson handgun and forged German, Italian and Spanish identification documents were found in the vehicle they were driving when arrested in France's central Nievre region on Friday.

The two were detained in a stolen Renault Clio after being chased down by police when they attempted to flee a road police checkpoint.

ETA is blamed for 829 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for independence for the Basque Country of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The organisation, classed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, announced in October 2011 that it was giving up its armed struggle.

© 2013 AFP

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