‘New IRA’ and dis­si­dent groups blamed for wave of vi­o­lence in Lon­don­derry

Po­lice chief con­demns at­tempts to mur­der of­fi­cers

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - AOIFE MOORE

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.”

Pic­ture: PA.

Po­lice on the city walls of Lon­don­derry yesterday fol­low­ing the sixth suc­ces­sive night of dis­or­der in the city.

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