Duplice allarme bomba ad Antrim. Evacuati gli alunni di due scuole. I sospetti si concentrano sul Real UFF

Ore 8.30. Brendan Shannon, alunno di 8 anni, raccoglie un oggetto sospetto ritrovato all’esterno della St Comgall’s Primary School e lo consegna all’insegnante. Si tratta di una pipe bomb. Scatta l’allarme, gli alunni vengono ospitati in una chiesa vicina.
Ore 10.30 . Una telefonata giunge a un quotidiano locale informando della presenza di un ordigno presso la St Joseph’s School in Greystone Road. Evacuata insieme agli allievi anche una sezione della scuola materna. Questo è quanto è accaduto oggi 6 settembre a Ballymena, contea di Antrim.
Miracolosamente nessun ferito. Gli artificieri si mettono all’opera.
“Questi sono sviluppi terribilmente preoccupanti. E’ terribile pensare che qualcuno possa essere così irresponsabile da posizionare oggetti di questo tipo nelle vicinanze di scuole”, interviene David Ford, Ministro della Giustizia. “Sono state rinvenute numerose bombe artigianali recentemente nella zona di Antrim e questa è una tendenza estremamente preoccupante”. “Queste persone vogliono causare disordini, ma la paura non deve prevalere”.
E’ lo stesso David Ford a svelare su chi si concentrano le indagini. “Sembra ci sia un piccolo gruppo di persone dentro e intorno alla città che si fa chiamare Real UFF, che ha piazzato tre bombe artigianali nei pressi di altrettante abitazioni un paio di settimane fa, e ora sembra essere lo stesso gruppo ad aver attaccato i bambini della St Comgall’s School e minacciato anche altri bambini in giro per il paese, anche se dietro alla minaccia non c’era niente”.
Il Real UFF (Real Ulster Freedom Fighters) formatosi nel 2007, è una frangia scissionista dell’UDA (Ulster Defence Association)

La testimonianza di Brendan Shannon (Accedi)
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Child picked up Antrim pipe bomb (U TV)
An eight-year-old child lifted and moved a viable pipe bomb device as two primary schools in Antrim were evacuated during separate security alerts, police have confirmed.
Brendan Shannon, from St Comgall’s Primary on the Ballymena Road in Antrim, found the device in the playground and handed it over to two of his teachers, who alerted the PSNI.
The school’s 400 pupils were moved to a nearby church hall after the alert was sparked, shortly before 8.30am on Monday.
The P5 boy and his twin sister, Ciara, had arrived early on their bicycles to help deliver milk to classrooms when he noticed the device lying on top of a painted line close to the playground wall.
“I saw a golden pipe thing that looked like a golden pipe bomb”, Brendan told UTV.
“I just got off my bike and touched it, then I was okay, so I just lifted it up.
“I found two teachers and give it to them and told them where it was.”
The device was declared viable by army bomb squad officers. It has now been removed for further forensic examinations.
A search of the second school – St Joseph’s on the Greystone Road – began shortly after 10.30am when a phone warning was received by a local media outlet. Pupils, including a nursery section, were also evacuated.
Police say the searches at the school finished after nothing untoward was found.
“I cannot express enough my disgust at the cowards involved in these alerts today,” Chief Inspector Simon Walls, area commander for the district, said.
“To target the general public is never acceptable by any means, but to take away the secure feelings of innocent children and to put them at risk like this is beyond despicable.
“It is by sheer good fortune that we are not dealing with a severely injured child right now.”
Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said: “Whoever caused these alerts must be strongly condemned for putting lives at risk.
“At the start of a new school year, when some children are attending for the first time, this has caused unnecessary fear and disruption in settings which should give a sense of safety to the children and all school staff.
“I would ask anyone with information about these incidents to pass it on to the PSNI.”
Justice Minister and South Antrim Alliance representative David Ford said: “These are deeply worrying developments. It is appalling to even think that someone might be so irresponsible as to place objects of this nature near schools.
“There have been a number of pipe bombs found in the Antrim area in recent times and this is an extremely troubling trend.
“Those who wish to cause disruption and fear must never prevail.”
DUP MP for South Antrim William McCrea said those responsible for the attack had “plumbed new depths”.
“It is obscene that any person would leave an explosive device anywhere, but to plant a bomb at a primary school is utterly disgraceful.
“Today’s incident proves just how depraved some of those who want to drag Northern Ireland backwards are. To target a primary school and to put innocent children at risk is plumbing new depths”, he added.
Ulster Unionist South Antrim MLA Danny Kinahan has said that security alerts at St Comgall’s and St Joseph’s Primary Schools in Antrim were “disgusting and utterly unjustifiable”.
“Those who would plant a bomb or even orchestrate a hoax at a school are beneath contempt.
“An attempt to terrify children as they start the year, and to make them feel insecure in the school environment, is frankly disgusting and utterly unjustifiable.”
Local SDLP MLA Thomas Burns also condemned those behind the incident.
“There is obviously a group which is determined to cause mayhem in our town with these regular pipe bomb incidents, and until we know otherwise we have to operate on the basis that they are prepared to cause murder as well,” the South Antrim MLA said.
“This is an attack on our whole community and the whole community must respond by working with our community policing service.
“There is only one place for the sort of people who left this device and that is in jail for a long time.”


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