France arrests suspected Basque separatist leader

May 28, 2012 13:10

MADRID - The suspected military leader of Basque separatist group ETA was arrested in southwestern France on Sunday, along with an alleged accomplice, Spain's Interior Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said Oroitz Gurruchaga Gogorza, along with his partner Xabier Aramburu, was recruiting new members to join the armed militant group that is responsible for killing more than 850 people in shootings and bombings over the past half century.

ETA, whose aim is to achieve an independent Basque homeland in the area spanning northern Spain and southern France, declared a permanent ceasefire last year but the group has yet to surrender its weapons and fully disband.

Gurruchaga and Aramburu were armed and traveling in a stolen car with fake license plates when they were arrested on Sunday in Cauna, Spanish authorities said.

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