By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The leadership of the IRA has asked the public to help in locating the graves of about 20 victims killed by republicans and secretly buried during the years of the Northern Ireland Troubles.
The IRA "urged anyone with information" about the location of graves of missing people to contact a member of the movement or the victims’ families.
In a short statement to the Irish News in Belfast, the IRA said it was continuing its investigation into "the whereabouts of the bodies of a small number of people killed and buried by the IRA over 20 years."
It is the second time the IRA has publicly addressed the problem of the so-called "disappeared" following pressure from victims’ families.
Almost four months ago, the IRA said it had set up a special unit "under one of our most senior officers" to investigate the disappearances.
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"We urge anyone with information which may be of assistance in identifying the location of the grave of any of these people to pass this information to ourselves or to the family of the person concerned.
"Any information passed to the IRA concerning these matters will be treated in strictest confidence and without prejudice to the source," the latest statement said.
Last week, Helen McKendry, the daughter of victim Jean McConville, revealed she had spoken to the IRA in recent weeks and had received confirmation they had killed her mother in Belfast 26 years ago.
McKendry, who was 15 when her mother was abducted, said she had been afraid while meeting the republicans because it "brought back what her mother must have gone through.