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Sister of murdered Seamus Ruddy visits French forest thought to hold his remains

The sister of a teacher murdered and secretly buried during the Northern Ireland Troubles has travelled to the French forest where a search for his remains is under way.

Seamus Ruddy, from Newry, Co Down, was abducted from Paris, killed and buried by the republican paramilitary group the INLA in 1985.

He became one of the "Disappeared" victims of the conflict.

His sister Anne Morgan visited the forest at Pont-de-l'Arche outside Rouen in northern France where fresh searches began this week.

The operation is being carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR), which was set up during the peace process by the UK and Irish governments to recover the bodies of those murdered and secretly buried, mainly by the IRA, in the 1970s and 1980s.

There have been three previous searches in the forest area for Mr Ruddy, the most recent by the ICLVR in 2008.

The commission's experts, who require those with knowledge of the crimes to come forward and provide information without fear of prosecution, are hopeful the 500 square metre area they are focusing on this time does hold Mr Ruddy's remains.

Mrs Morgan met two French magistrates involved in facilitating the search during her private visit to the site.

Jon Hill, from the commission, said the operation could last for a month.

"We are happy with how the search is progressing," he said.

"We haven't met any unanticipated issues in it and we will continue to work as we have been and are hopeful of a successful conclusion."

Despite extensive and painstaking searches, the bodies of four out of 16 people the commission was tasked to find have never been recovered.

In addition to Seamus Ruddy, the remains of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac have yet to be found.

The commission has asked anyone with information to contact them in complete confidence on 00800 555 85500, by writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2, or via the website www.iclvr.ie

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