French police in 'Real IRA' arrests

French police have arrested five people on suspicion of providing support to a dissident Northern Ireland paramilitary faction, the Real IRA.

    The arrests were made in Normandy and Brittany

    Anti-terrorist police made the arrests early on Tuesday in the Seine-Maritime department of Normandy and the Cote d'Armor department of Brittany.

    Officials in Paris said investigations had brought to light evidence of a link with the Real IRA.

    The Real IRA is a breakaway faction of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which has rejected moves towards a negotiated peace settlement in Northern Ireland.

    A small Breton nationalist group - the Breton Revolutionary Army (ARB) - has in the past provided logistical support to the armed Spanish Basque separatist group ETA.

    It is believed to have been behind the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Brittany in 2000 that killed a female employee.

    Breakaway faction

    The Real IRA split from the IRA - Northern Ireland's largest Catholic paramilitary movement - in 1997 in protest at IRA involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process.

    In August 1998 it bombed the Northern Irish town of Omagh, killing 29 people. The attack was the worst single atrocity in 30 years of violence in the British province.
     
    It is believed to be responsible for several other attacks, including a series of explosions in London in 2001. Its leader, Michael McKevitt, was jailed for 20 years by a special court in Dublin earlier this year.

    Northern Ireland's mainly Catholic republicans want the province reunited with the Republic of Ireland. The province's mainly Protestant unionists want to remain attached to the United Kingdom.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.