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Saturday 23 March 2019

Youth sets himself on fire as riots grip Derry

The PSNI have been attacked during disturbances in Derry (stock photo)
The PSNI have been attacked during disturbances in Derry (stock photo)

Leona O'Neill

A youth has set himself on fire trying to set a hijacked van ablaze last night in Derry's Bogside.

The hooded youth, who had his face covered with a scarf, was attempting to ignite a Housing Executive maintenance van using a petrol can and a lit petrol bomb when he set his tracksuit bottoms on fire at the bottom of the Lecky Road flyover during a fifth night of disturbances in the area.

He disappeared into a side street and it is unclear if he sought medical attention.

The van had earlier been hijacked by two masked gunmen in Creggan. The gunmen abandoned the vehicle in the Bogside in view of the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good, and the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, who were visiting the area to meet people living who had been affected by the disturbances.

The bishops issued a joint statement condemning the violence and urging parents to use their influence to stop it.

"The continuing attacks on the Fountain - indeed, attacks on people in any part of our community - are an affront to our society and deserve our unqualified condemnation," they said.

Their comments come as a dissident republican group Saoradh warned of further violence after police made a number of arrests.

A 16-year-old youth was charged with disorderly behaviour, assault on police, resisting police and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place following the trouble two nights ago. Two men, aged 20 and 50, were also arrested.

A spokesperson for Saoradh, Paddy Gallagher, said that until the arrests they had "got a reassurance from the youths that the Fountain would not be targeted again".

Arrests had "done nothing but embolden young people and ensure that there will be further violence in the coming days".

Irish Independent

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