BELFAST, Northern Ireland, June 27 (UPI) -- Three Ulster loyalist paramilitaries say they are decommissioning their weapons at the behest of an independent Northern Ireland commission.
Two of them, Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando, thought to be responsible for the deaths of almost 1,000 Catholics during "the Troubles," confirmed Friday they had destroyed their arsenals in moves overseen by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, led by Gen. John de Chastelain, The Daily Telegraph reported.
De Chastelain also oversaw the decommissioning of the Irish Republican Army's arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives four years ago, the newspaper said.
"The dark days are now behind us and it is time to move on," a statement issued by the UDA's leaders said. "There is no place for guns and violence in the new society we are building. It is time to work for a better future."
A third loyalist paramilitary, the Ulster Defense Association, said it has also started to destroy its arsenal, the Telegraph said.