Basque separatists ETA hand list of arms caches to French police: sources

Members of a civilian group hold a news conference about the handover of arms and explosives by civilian middlemen collected from the Basque militant separatist group ETA in Bayonne, France, April 8, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

BAYONNE, France (Reuters) - Basque militant group ETA has handed a list of eight arms caches to the French police through intermediaries, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

The surrender of its weapons is expected to end the group’s more than four decades of armed struggle that gained it notoriety as one of Europe’s most intractable separatist movements.

The hidden caches could include about 130 handguns and two tonnes of explosives, according to French anti-terrorism experts.

The orchestrated handover in the French city of Bayonne will not dissolve the group, which declared a ceasefire in 2011 after killing more than 850 people during a campaign for an independent state in northern Spain and southwest France.

Reporting by Claude Canellas; writing Bate Felix; editing by Jason Neely