Viable bomb found in Londonderry alert

Lettershandoney Avenue area.  Pic Google.
Lettershandoney Avenue area. Pic Google.

Police have found a viable bomb in Londonderry after two days of searches for a device dissident republicans said they had left.

On Friday at 6pm the police announced that the security alert in the Lettershandoney area had ended and families were able to return to their homes.

The alarm was first raised on Thursday.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “I can confirm that a viable device has been recovered and will be taken away for further examination. I am well aware how frustrating it has been for those people who have had their lives disrupted and I thank them for their patience and understanding.

“I know from discussions with community representatives over the last few days that the majority of people understand that this level of policing operation was necessary to make sure lives were not at risk. When violent dissident criminals tell us that there is a device in the area we do not take chances. Conflicting and inaccurate information provided by those criminal elements prolonged this operation further and the blame lies squarely with those individuals who seem intent on creating fear and causing harm within our communities.

“I would appeal for anyone with information about this incident to please tell us. It is only with your help that we can make our communities safer.”

Police, who evacuated several homes in successive security alerts in the village of Lettershandoney over the previous two days while searches were carried out, said dissidents had been giving them “inaccurate and contradictory” information.

Priory to its discovery, Superintendent Gordon McCalmont appealed to the dissidents to tell them “exactly where the bomb is” so that it could be dealt with and residents’ lives ccould go back to normal.

SDLP Councillor Jim McKeever, who lives in the village, said the dissident republicans were “playing with people’s lives here” as he appealed to locals to “stand up” and make it known they won’t tolerate that type of violence in their area.

Superintendent McCalmont said on Friday: “Over a period of two days violent dissident republicans have been telling us through intermediaries that there is a bomb in the area of Lettershandoney. On Wednesday they told us it was in one position and yesterday they said it was in another.”

He continued: “Over the past couple of days we have seen families displaced from their homes at a time when they should be managing the routine of getting children back to school. The criminal elements behind this incident don’t care about family life or the added stress they are placing on people.”