Dissidents in threat to prison staff
Published 24/03/2009 | 02:00
The Continuity IRA has extended its murder agenda to prison officers, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The terror group, which admitted murdering Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon a fortnight ago, has now threatened warders at Maghaberry Prison.
A number of officers serving at the top security jail have been warned that some of their personal details are now known to the CIRA and they have been advised to take greater security precautions about their movements.
Three weeks ago the prison was put on alert after the same dissident terror group warned that a bomb had been attached to a named prison warder’s car. The car park used by officers at the jail was sealed off and searched but no device was found.
The latest warning phoned to the Samaritans organisation gave |details of vehicles driven by four prison officers and said that they were being targeted.
It would be foolish not to take any threat seriously
The threat to the warders is being taken extremely seriously and all have been advised to step up their personal security.
In a statement the Prison Service said that it was aware of a phone call to an outside organisation threatening a number of members of prison staff.
The statement said: “While the Prison Service cannot comment on the details of the call, staff have been advised of the importance of remaining alert with regard to their personal security.”
It’s suspected that the Continuity IRA threat arises out of searches of cells occupied by dissident republicans in the jail in |recent months when mobile phones and drugs and other banned materials were seized.
While the service is refusing to discuss details of the threat, prison officers claim that photographs of officers driving into the jail to begin duty have been taken outside the perimeter fence of Maghaberry jail.
It is claimed that the officers have been identified from the vehicle details provided by the dissidents and advised of the threat.
The Prison Service declined to discuss the new threat to officers but one source said that it was being taken very seriously.
“In the current circumstances it would be foolish not to take any threat from the Continuity IRA |seriously.
“This was not conveyed to the PSNI or the Prison Service directly but with the CIRA claiming |responsibility for the murder of Constable Carroll all reports have to be treated very seriously.
“Certain details were provided during the call and the security staff at the jail has established that these details relate to serving prison officers so it is being taken as a genuine threat”, the source said.