Teenager suffers suspected broken nose in Belfast attack


A 16-year-old boy has suffered facial injuries after being attacked in west Belfast.

Police said just before 2am on Sunday two or three youths who had gathered in a group at Stewartstown Road were assaulted.

The teenager suffered a suspected broken nose.

The attack happened not far from where father-of-one Christopher Meli, 20, was beaten to death last weekend and Sinn Fein has claimed vigilante groups have been operating in the area.

West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann said the victim had disabilities.

She said: “I unreservedly condemn this savage attack and call on anyone with any information on this vicious assault to bring it immediately to the police.

“Tensions have been high in the Colin area this week following the tragic killing of Christopher Meli last weekend.

“The PSNI has launched an immediate investigation into the killing of Christopher Meli. A number of people have now been charged and the police are continuing to make arrests connected to the investigation.

“However, I am aware there have been threats made against young people in the area by people claiming to be dissident republicans and there have been reports of vigilantes being spotted in cars in the area.

“This activity is only making a tense situation worse and must stop immediately. No-one should be trying to cynically exploit the killing of a young man for their own selfish ends.

“If the people behind this activity don’t desist, then it’s only a matter of time before some other young person is killed or seriously wounded.”

Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said patrols had been stepped up in the area recently.

He said: “We are committed to keeping people safe. There is, though, a wider social responsibility for all in the area, including civic and community leaders, to assist in reducing tensions and deterring offenders.”