Northern Ireland news

Derry double paramilitary shooting was 'by appointment'

Police at scene of two the paramilitary-style attacks in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

TWO men who suffered gunshot wounds within minutes of each other in separate paramilitary-style attacks in Derry were shot “by appointment”.

The men were ordered to go to the Ballymagroarty area on Friday evening where they were shot within 100 yards of each other.

The victims are not from the area and it is understood police believe the same republican gang was behind both attacks.

It comes amid an increase in paramilitary activity in the city including a car bomb which exploded outside the Bishop Street courthouse two weeks ago.

Friday's attacks took place in a busy area where large numbers of young people gather near a take-away restaurant and other shops.

Detective Sergeant Michelle Boyd said they are an attempt to control communities in Derry.

“Both these incidents happened within 10 minutes of each other and less than 100 metres apart," she said.

"The first, in which a 24-year-old man was shot in the knee, was reported to us around 8.10pm and took place on a grassed area close to Corrib Court.

“The second was reported just after 8.20pm where a 32-year-old man was shot once in the leg on a grassed area near O'Casey Court. Both men were taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries.”

The officer said the attacks were “brutal and vicious” and would leave the victims with physical and psychological scars.

“These attacks are yet again more examples of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence,” she said.

SDLP assembly member Mark H Durkan said the idea that people were being ordered to go to a particular area to be shot was “barbaric”.

“The people of Ballymagroarty do not want this. There were many young people about at that time of the evening who were exposed to the aftermath of this horror. People living in the area are outraged that this has happened again,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Eric McGinley said Friday's attacks stood in stark contrast to good work being done in the Ballymagroarty community.

“There can be no place for the use of guns or gangs of masked men on the streets of our city,” he said.

DUP assembly member Gary Middleton also said there was no justification for guns or violence on the streets and the only people responsible for law and order were police.

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