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Northern Ireland Protestant Guerilla Group Renounces Violence

Northern Ireland's biggest Protestant guerilla group, the Ulster Defense Association, says it wants to end violence and rejoin peacemaking efforts.

The group issued a statement Sunday, and a political spokesman, Tommy Kirkham, said at a rally, that the group would stop military activity and focus on community development, social inclusion and community politics. But the group did not commit to disarming until its Catholic rival, the Irish Republican Army did the same.

On Friday, Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Paul Murphy, opened the door to the Ulster Defense Association's participation in the peace process by saying it was finally observing a ceasefire pledge made ten years ago.

The Protestant group is blamed for killing more than 400 people in sectarian violence in Northern Ireland over the past three decades.