Armed dissidents blamed for brutal attack on Derry teen
Dissident republicans are believed to have carried out a brutal attack on a teenager in the Creggan area of Londonderry yesterday.
Three men, one armed with a metal bar and another one, possibly armed with a gun, identified the 19-year-old man before attacking him.
The teenager was walking between Glenowen Park and Forrest Park at around 4am when the assault occurred, which left him with cuts and bruises to his face and body.
This is the second time in less than a month republican paramilitaries have attacked a teenager in Derry.
Just two weeks ago metal bars were also used to break the bones of another teenager in the Bogside.
The 15-year-old boy cried out for his mother, but the three attackers ignored his pleas and savagely beat him with a metal bar breaking his leg and leaving him with other injuries.
The deputy mayor - SDLP councillor John Boyle - said that this type of rough justice meted out by paramilitaries was about them trying to control communities.
"The modus operandi of this attack has all the hallmarks of a so-called punishment attack. However, no one has the right to be handing out 'punishment' to anybody," he said.
"The worrying thing about this is that it was reported that there was a gun present at the time which implies a threat of even greater violence to the victim.
"We had a similar attack two weeks ago. Clearly there are people within our communities who are intent on meting out their own type of justice which is in fact an injustice.
"These types of attacks are about control and intimidation of our communities and these people must not be allowed to win."
While there was little physical evidence of the attack left behind, people living in the area were nonetheless enraged at what had happened.
One resident, Louise McKinley, told the Belfast Telegraph: "I have lived here long enough to know that beating someone with iron bars will not sort anything out.
"There are no jobs for the young people and they have no hope of getting one either.
"Politicians make a song and dance about what they are going to do for places like Creggan and the Bogside, but walk around any street in this place and it is full of people who can't get their head lifted out of the mire, no matter how hard they try.
"If the dissidents think beating young people to a pulp is going to make Creggan a better place, they need to take a long hard look at themselves because they could not be more wrong."
Detectives at Strand Road are keen to hear from witnesses or anyone else with information regarding this crime. They can be contacted by calling 101, quoting reference number 332 25/06/17.