400 more soldiers pull out of Ulster

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The Independent Online
THE AUTHORITIES in Northern Ireland yesterday announced a further relaxation of security measures, easing back on the use of the army in the light of reduced violence since last month's Omagh bombing.

Up to 400 troops are to be shipped out of the provincewhile routine army patrolling will be ended in the south Londonderry area from the weekend. The police and army are also to review the disposition of Northern Ireland's numerous military bases.

Meanwhile, police in both Northern Ireland and the Republic yesterday continued to question 12 people about the Omagh bombing. Six were arrested on each side of the border on Monday in a combined operation aimed at breaking up the Real IRA which planted the bomb.

The Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ronnie Flanagan, said the troop reductions were being made as a result of a review of the security situation. He said he was pleased to announce that an "improving security situation" allowed police to operate with a reduced military presence.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, said: "It's a process of normalisation which was part of the Good Friday agreement."

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