Northern Ireland news

ONH claims it planted Derry bomb five weeks ago

Police found a bomb at Drumsurn, near Dungiven, yesterday afternoon. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Connla Young

Republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann has claimed it planted a bomb at the centre of a major security alert in Co Derry five weeks ago.

Police have confirmed they found a device on the Legavallon Road at Drumsurn, near Dungiven, yesterday afternoon.

A controlled explosion was carried out.

Officers said the security operation will continue until this morning.

Detective Inspector Stuart Griffin said: "I would like to thank the people of Drumsurn for their continuing support and patience while we have dealt with this security operation over the last two days and I ask that this continues as this lengthy operation carries on into tomorrow."

A local charity received a call earlier this week claiming a device had been left in the isolated rural area.

It is believed British soldiers who took part in training exercises in the area may have been the target.

Earlier this year footage emerged of British soldiers, believed to be based at nearby Magilligan, patrolling in the area during a training exercise.

In a statement to a Derry newspaper, Óglaigh na hÉireann said it left the “improvised explosive device” device at Drumsurn and also claimed responsibility for a mortar and a gun attack in the Currynierin area of Derry earlier this year.

It also claimed it was behind a mortar attack in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

It is understood the focus of the security force search, which began on Wednesday morning, widened after fresh information was received about the location of the suspected device.

Police closed part of the Legavallon Road and moved several people from their homes on Thursday but they were later allowed to return.

The British army bomb squad and security force search dogs are believed to have been deployed, while the PSNI helicopter was used to carry out aerial searches of the mountainous district.

Sinn Féin councillor Brenda Chivers, who is a member of the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, voiced concern over claims by Oglaigh na hEireann that previous bomb warnings had been ignored.

“That question will have to be answered when this is over,” she said.

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