‘New IRA’ and dissident groups blamed for wave of violence in Londonderry
Police chief condemns attempts to murder officers
Northern Ireland’s police chief has blamed the so-called “New IRA” as the primary dissident republican group orchestrating rioting and murder bids on his officers in Londonderry.
George Hamilton said members of other violent extremist dissident organisations were also involved in fomenting six successive nights of violence in Derry’s Bogside.
In the latest bout of unrest, two explosive devices were hurled at officers on Thursday night, with 74 petrol bombs also thrown. Police have said it was a “miracle” no officers were injured.
Three men were arrested, one on suspicion of attempted murder.
Riot police fired four baton rounds during the disturbances in the republican neighbourhood.
Many of those engaging in the violence are youths, some not even in their teens.
A community rally was held in Derry yesterday evening to give people from both sides of the community divide an opportunity to demonstrate their collective opposition to the disorder.
After being briefed by commanders in Derry, Mr Hamilton warned that if the violence continued it was “only a matter of time” before someone was killed.
“We believe violent dissident republican groups are behind this, they will use whatever excuse they can to bring about unrest and to have young people involve themselves in violence against the police,” he said.
“We believe there are members of a variety of dissident groupings in this disorder – the so-called New IRA is probably the primary grouping behind this disorder and behind these threats to police and these murderous attacks on police. If this continues, it’s only a matter of time before a police officer or a child or young person involved in this violence gets very seriously injured or worse.”
Police on the city walls of Londonderry yesterday following the sixth successive night of disorder in the city.