INLA due to call ceasefire

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The Independent Online
A CEASEFIRE announcement by the Irish National Liberation Army is believed to be imminent, according to sources in Belfast. An announcement is due today, they said last night.

The move will be greatly welcomed by the authorities on both sides of the border, as the unpredictable group has shown itself capable of sparking off deadly cycles of violence.

The ceasefire will be welcomed both for its own sake and as confirmation that the Omagh bombing has generated a powerful wave of anti-violent feeling.

Several days ago the Irish Republican Socialist party, the INLA's political wing, announced "that there is now no basis for the continuation of armed struggle by Irish republicans".

The group has been responsible for roughly 140 murders since it was formed in the mid-1970s, breaking away from the old Official IRA. Many of these were of its own members in the feuding that has sporadically racked the organisation.

It was particularly affected by the "supergrass" trials of the early 1980s, when a number of members turned Queen's evidence and testified against former colleagues. Since then some members have left and joined the IRA, leaving the INLA somewhat short of experience and dependent on younger men. There was an internal feud in 1986 in which 12 of its members died.

Among its victims have been the Tory MP, Airey Neave, at Westminster in 1979, and the loyalist paramilitary leader, Billy Wright, last December.

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