NEWRY, TAXI DIROTTATO. IL CONDUCENTE: “HO TEMUTO PER LA MIA VITA”
Sabato, 21:30 circa. Due uomini a volto coperto dirottano un taxi nella zona di Derrybeg, posizionando sul sedile posteriore un dispositivo sospetto. Il conducente ha poi abbandonato il veicolo a Martins Lane, dando l’allarme
“Ho provato a chiudere la strada da solo mentre aspettavo la polizia, ma gli agenti sono arrivati solo dopo più di un’ora” è la testimonianza di uno sconvolto Ian Murtagh, alla guida del taxi. “Abbiamo bloccato le strade con i nostri veicoli e un altro passante ci ha aiutati bloccando l’altro senso di marcia, ma non sapevamo cosa fare da soli – chi passava era in pericolo, e lo erano anche gli abitanti delle case vicine. È stato molto angosciante”.
All’arrivo, la PSNI ha poi chiuso parzialmente la strada e evacuato venti case, ma dopo un’esplosione controllata è stato appurato che non si trattava di una bomba.
Pur non avendo inviato una squadra d’intervento immediato, la PSNI assicura di aver ‘prestato tutta l’attenzione necessaria perché nessuno corresse pericoli’, tuttavia ‘procedendo molto cautamente, a causa della minaccia costante alla vita degli agenti di polizia da parte di qualcuno’ e ha aggiunto: “Abbiamo il pieno dovere di indagare sulle allerte, ma una responsabilità ancora più grande di proteggere e preservare la vita, inclusa la vita della comunità e dei nostri stessi agenti”.
Condanne dal MLA del SDLP per Newry e Mourne, Dominic Bradley: “Venerdì è stato trovata una bomba vicino alla rotonda di Cloghgue, e ora questo episodio altamente preoccupante. La gente di Newry ne ha avuto abbastanza in passato di intimidazioni e violenza”.
La PSNI, intanto,. resta in attesa di qualunque informazione utile.
Taxi ‘bomb’ driver feared for his life (UTV)
A Newry taxi driver feared for his life after his vehicle was hijacked and a suspect package was placed inside by two masked men.
The driver was responding to a call for a fare at the Derrybeg estate in the city at around 9.30pm on Saturday when the men placed the suspicious device inside his vehicle.
The taxi was then abandoned by the worried driver in the Martins Lane area, sparking a security alert.
Ian Murtagh, owner of the taxi firm, said they tried to close the roads themselves and divert traffic until the PSNI arrived.
However, he said the police “failed to come for over an hour.”
“We blocked the road with our vehicle and another passer-by was helpful enough to block the other side of the road.”
He added: “We didn’t know what to do with ourselves – people were in danger passing and people in houses were potentially in danger as well.”
Mr Murtagh said the incident was “very concerning.”
Some situations may have to be dealt with cautiously due to the significant threat from a small number of people who have shown their determination to kill police officers.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Anthony McNally
When police arrived, they evacuated around 20 homes and officially closed part of the road.
Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion and declared the device a hoax shortly before 3am on Sunday.
Evacuated residents were allowed back into their houses a short time later and the road was re-opened.
Police say that while they did not attend the scene immediately, they “worked as quickly as possible, planning and assessing, in order to ensure the safety of the community and the officers responding.”
Area Commander Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said: “We in Newry are committed to investigating this security alert but we have an over-riding responsibility to protect and preserve life, and that includes the lives of the community and the lives of our own officers.”
Chief Insp McNally has appealed for anyone with any information to come forward.
He added: “The PSNI would like to thank the Patrick Street Sports Centre and the Mourne Country Hotel, but most importantly the local residents of Martins Lane who showed such community spirit in dealing with this incident.”
Dominic Bradley, Newry and Mourne SDLP MLA, told UTV the hijacking was “extremely worrying.”
“The taxi driver was under the impression that the gas cylinder in his car was a bomb.
“He thought he had a bomb in his car that would explode at any time.”
He added: “The day before a viable device was found quite close to this area at the Cloghgue roundabout.”
Mr Bradley said he condemned both incidents.
He said the alerts had caused “great annoyance and inconvenience to the local community.”
“People of Newry have had their fill of intimidation and violence in the past.”