Pre-election attacks in Derry blamed on dissident republicans
Published 07/05/2015 | 18:15
Pre-election attacks blamed on dissident republicans have created a climate of fear in a Northern Ireland city, a group of business and community leaders said.
Bombs were planted near homes in Derry while the car of a Sinn Fein councillor was set alight and the home of the party's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness targeted by paint bombers.
Sinn Fein has blamed opponents of the peace process for the recent upsurge and police are on high alert for more attacks as people go to the polls.
A statement from the Unity Of Purpose group in Derry said: "These attacks against the people of this city have created an atmosphere of fear and a heightened sense of threat across the city.
"We particularly condemn those attacks in built up areas that have subjected local people to terror and fear in their own homes."
Officers have stepped up patrols targeting dissidents opposed to the peace process and the danger to the security forces is rated as severe.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) superintendent Mark McEwan said: "The PSNI are committed to keeping people safe, and it is the people of this city that have been put at risk by the reckless attacks we have witnessed.
"Not only the planting of bombs in residential areas that could have killed or seriously injured people in the street and nearby houses, but the same applies when a vehicle is set alight beside a person's home and in a residential street."
Two partially-exploded bombs were found close to a Territorial Army base in the city earlier this week.
Mr McGuinness' home was attacked with paint bombs.
Cars belonging to two Sinn Fein councillors were damaged, one set alight and the windows of another smashed.
The party has condemned a spate of attacks which it said was organised by dissidents opposed to the democratic process.
Unity Of Purpose is an organisation including members of the Londonderry Chamber of businessmen, elected representatives and other community leaders from the area. It was established to facilitate dialogue across the statutory, community and voluntary and private business sectors.
Its statement said: "Violence has no place in our city and brings nothing but pain and misery for those who have been subjected to these latest threats and attacks.
"For those who would continue to advocate the use of force, threat or violence against any of our people or any part of our city, we say 'put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery caused by violence'.
"Any attack against any part of the city and region or against any person or people in or of the area is an attack against the interests of everyone and against the future well-being of this city and its people."