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4 February 1999 Edition

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IRA investigates stolen guns

The IRA has revealed that it is investigating the theft of ``a small amount'' of its weaponry which was stolen by individuals who resigned from Oglaigh na hEireann over a year ago.

In a statement, released on Wednesday 3 February, the IRA says it has carried out a thorough investigation into the theft and recovered most of the stolen weapons.

It also accused those involved in taking the weapons of attempting to ``derail our investigation'' by visiting the homes of republican supporters and threatening their families.

The IRA investigation is thought to centre on a number of individuals who left Oglaigh na hEireann and became involved with the grouping responsible for the Omagh bomb.

In an interview with An Phoblacht last September the IRA called on this grouping to disband saying, ``this grouping have done only disservice to the republican cause. They have no coherent political strategy... In the immediate aftermath of the Omagh bomb they announced a temporary halt to their actions. This is insufficient. They should disband and they should do so sooner rather than later''.

The full text of the IRA statement reads: ``Following thorough investigations over a prolonged period the IRA has established that a small amount of its weaponry has been stolen by some individuals who resigned from the IRA over a year ago.

``The weapons involved were secretly misappropriated by these individuals prior to their defection.

``In an attempt to derail our investigations those involved have recently visited the homes of some republican supporters and their families.

``We have recovered some, but not all, of the stolen weapons.

``The IRA will continue its investigations until all the missing weaponry has been recovered''.

P O'Neill, Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1