NORTHERN Ireland police have warned Stormont's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of a "real and active" threat against his life from dissident republicans, the Sinn Fein veteran has said.
Mr McGuinness said detectives have linked the sinister development to the politician's condemnation of a mortar bomb find in his native Derry on Sunday night and his associated statements of support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
The high-profile republican, who said he was informed of the threat by a senior PSNI officer last night, insisted he would not be silenced by the dissidents.
"Last night I was visited at home by the PSNI, who informed me of a real and active threat against me from a dissident group in Derry," he said.
"They linked the threat to my condemnation of the recent attempted mortar attack in the city and other remarks made in support of the PSNI.
"Both myself and the PSNI are taking this threat seriously. However there are times when in political leadership staying silent is not an option, and I will not be silenced by threats like this.
"I will defend the peace process from attack from whatever quarter, be it these groups or the loyalist flag protesters over recent months.
"It says much about the mentality of those controlling groups like the one behind the threat that in their warped logic threatening Irish republicans and their families somehow advances the cause of Irish reunification.
"I am very sure of the ground I stand on. I am also very sure that it is the path shared by republicans across this island genuinely interested in building a new agreed Ireland, republicans who put Ireland before ego, criminality and self gain."
The death threat is the latest in a recent spate against the region's politicians.
Elected representatives from across the political divide have been subject to similar intimidation, from extremists on both sides, during the ongoing Union flag controversy in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assembly member Conall McDevitt said he had received a bullet and sympathy card in the post.
Mr McDevitt, a south Belfast representative, also said he would not be deterred by the development.
Northern Ireland's chief constable Matt Baggott condemned those who have threatened politicians in the region.
"I am outraged by it, as indeed I think the vast, vast majority of good people are," he said.
"There is absolutely no place for the intimidation of politicians, people who put themselves in the heart of politics to make lives better and there's no place for this whatsoever.
"And, if we are able, we will bring the people that have done this before the courts and let the courts do their business."
Mr McDevitt sits on the Northern Ireland Policing Board. At the board's monthly meeting in Belfast today, its chairman Brian Rea expressed solidarity with the SDLP representative and all other politicians who have been subject to threats.
"These threats, no matter who they are upon, they are despicable," he said.