France charges two alleged ETA members

France has charged two alleged members of Basque separatist group ETA and ordered them held without bail after their arrest last week in the central town of Moulins, a judicial source said Tuesday.

Oier Ibarguren Sarasola, a 26-year-old among the most wanted ETA members in Spain, was arrested along with Montxo Arkaitz Varea Echeverria, 30, as they emerged from a hotel in Moulins around midday on Thursday.

Sarasola was allegedly carrying a nine-millimetre pistol when arrested.

The two were brought to Paris and on Monday charged with offences including criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise.

ETA is blamed for 829 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for independence for the Basque Country of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The organisation, classed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, announced in October 2011 that it was giving up its armed struggle.

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