Editorial: Dissidents must end campaign of violence

The recent upsurge in dissident republican activity in the north west will be viewed as a matter of the utmost seriousness.

After a period of relative calm, the past week has witnessed the type of despicable attacks that no one wants to see, not in 2022 or in any other year.

Once again we have a tiny minority of dissidents deliberately setting out to kill, maim, intimidate and disrupt, without any regard for the impact they are having on the lives of ordinary citizens.

In the latest attack, a delivery driver was forced at gunpoint to drive what he believed to be a bomb to Lisnagelvin police station in Derry where he abandoned the car and raised the alarm.

The driver was left understandably traumatised by this appalling crime. It is cruel beyond belief to inflict such a terrifying ordeal on a worker who is simply trying to go about his business, as he is entitled to do.

The subsequent security operation caused widespread disruption, with two schools forced to close.

Following the incident, police said the suspect device - a petrol canister with a pipe attached - was an 'elaborate hoax'.

However, 48 hours later, a senior officer confirmed that what had been placed on board the hijacked car was 'a viable explosive device'.

This is clearly a serious development and raises questions about how a bomb, with the potential to kill or injure, could be described as a hoax.

The attack in Derry came only days after an attempt to kill police officers in Strabane.

Last Thursday, November 17, two police officers were fortunate to escape injury after a roadside explosion targeted their car at Mount Carmel Heights, a blast which has been claimed by the New IRA.

A number of searches were carried out in the town and six men arrested who were later released.

On Monday, a controlled explosion was carried out on a wheelie bin. As the Irish News reported yesterday, the bin contained a PSNI torch which had been left in a house following an earlier search.

This unfortunate sequence of events will give rise to further questions.

Ultimately, the full responsibility for any attack and its consequences lies firmly with the dissidents who are inflicting misery on local communities.

These gangs need to be brought to justice and their unwanted campaign of violence ended for good.