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Northern Ireland news

Dissident republicans blamed for shooting of teenager

The teenager was shot at Aitnamona Crescent in West Belfast on Sunday. Picture by Hugh Russell.

DISSIDENT republicans are being blamed for the shooting of a teenager in west Belfast.

The 16-year-old, thought to be from the Turf Lodge area, was attacked on waste ground in nearby Aitnamona Crescent at around 8.50pm on Sunday.

The teenager was treated in hospital for his injuries which are not believed to be life threatening.

Chief Inspector Norman Hanslet described the attack as "blatant child abuse"

"There should be no place for the shooting of a child in today's society," he added.

The attack was also condemned by elected representatives from across the political spectrum.

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said that those responsible were "at war with the community".

"There can be no place for this type of activity and those responsible for shooting a young teenage boy have absolutely nothing to offer our society."

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said "at a time of the year which is all about children and younger people, this serves to highlight its brutality".

Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Doug Beattie also said the attack was "nothing less than child abuse".

"Had this boy been shot by the army, the police or loyalists, then there would be a huge outcry, " he said.

"It is a tragic reality of life in too many areas of Northern Ireland that such so-called paramilitary-style shootings are still a relatively common occurrence and it is all too easy for society to somehow become almost de-sensitised to them."

While no-one had last night claimed responsibility for the shooting, previous attacks in the area have been carried out by the republican group Oglaigh na hEireann.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact officers on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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