Starting in the 1970s, the Provisional Irish Republican Army or IRA began kidnapping people they believed had wronged them. This lasted until as recently as 2005 and the people they kidnapped became known as the Disappeared. There are 16 disappeared persons in total, and the IRA has released 9 locations of bodies during peace negotiations.
Most of the victims were from Belfast, in British occupied Northern Ireland. One of the most famous cases of the Disappeared is Jean McConville. She was 37 when she was kidnapped by a group of 12 IRA members from her home. She was targeted because her family came to the aid of a mortally wounded British Soldier who was shot on her street. The standard procedure was to kidnap the victims, take them to an IRA run building, interrogate and torture them, and once the IRA got the information they needed, execute them.
Most of the other Disappeared were believed to have been interrogated for crimes such as stealing weapons from the IRA, or being a double agent for the government. Danny McIlhone was interrogated after he was accused of stealing weapons, and was murdered in a struggle with his captor as he tried to escape.
In 1999, Northern Ireland passed legislation in order to find the missing bodies of the Disappeared. The Locations of Victims Remains Act has facilitated some of the largest finds, as members of the IRA have cooperated with peace efforts. The legislation created the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains, which collects confidential tips from anonymous sources that could help find the remaining Disappeared. 7 of the 16 bodies are still missing as of 2013, the IRA is not expected to help with their location.
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