Derry Journal

UDA Link To Violence Upsurge

Friday 24th September 2004

A Derry family of six say they will have to leave their Waterside home after it was attacked by pipe bombers linked to the UDA.

The device was discovered by the mother-offour on the bonnet of the family car as she reversed it out of the driveway of her Milltown Crescent home at around 9.45 a.m. on Wednesday.

With her in the car at the time was her ninemonthold daughter. Army technical officers immediately rushed to the scene where they carried out a controlled explosion on the device.

The area was also cordoned off and a number of houses evacuated.

Police later described the device as "viable" and said it could have exploded at any time.

Local people were linking the incident to a shooting which took place nearby just days before.

In that incident, a man was wounded in a gun attack at the Cosy Inn Bar on Church Brae on Saturday night.

Following the shooting, loyalists played down reports of a feud.

Indeed, the political representatives of both the UVF and UDA insisted relations between the groups in the city "had never been better."

However, sources revealed this week that rival loyalists in the locale were "definitely at each other's throats." "While it may not be sanctioned by the leaderships of these particular organisations, something bad is going on," said the source. "If it isn't sorted out, it is inevitable that someone will be killed."

Still visibly shaken by her ordeal, the young mother - who asked not to be named - said: "I'm still finding it difficult to take this in. I have no idea why we are being targeted. We have no enemies. We get on with everyone.

"But to target a baby really defies logic. These people must have know that it was my car that they placed this device on and that I use it every day to ferry my kids about."

The woman said she first became aware of the device on the bonnet of her car as she reversed it out of her driveway.

"I just panicked, jumped out of the car with the engine still running, grabbed the baby and ran to the neighbours where I phoned the police."

She also revealed that it isn't the first time her home has been targeted.

"On August 15 last, our door was kicked in and our roof damaged. Bottles have also been thrown at the house."

The woman insisted she and her family could never return to their home of seven years.

Her angry husband blasted those behind the attack.

"Do these scumbags not realise that they could have killed by wife and baby daughter. They are the lowest of the low. They're scum, absolute scum. To deliberately target infants is pathetic."

The man insisted there was no reason why his family should be targeted.

He also maintained that his family were "caught in the middle" of a "row" between opposing groups.

"I have nothing to do with any paramilitary groupings," he said. "My family and I are entirely innocent. We're simply caught in the middle here. We're a soft target. If they think they are getting at certain people by targeting me and my family then they are wrong."

One local resident called on the political representatives of loyalism to "come clean" on the issue.

"It's ridiculous to see a situation where Protestants are attacking fellow Protestants," she said. "These people may say there is no feud, but we know better. Who do they think they're fooling?"

It's believed that, as a result of ongoing tensions in the district, police and army patrols are to be stepped up in the Tullyally and Drumahoe areas.

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