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Dungiven explosive find: Firefighters make bomb discovery while tackling bin fire

Published 01/12/2015

The scene in Ard Na Smoll, Dungiven where a viable bomb was left at the front of a house in the village. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
The scene in Ard Na Smoll, Dungiven where a viable bomb was left at the front of a house in the village. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
The scene in Ard Na Smoll, Dungiven where a viable bomb was left at the front of a house in the village. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
The scene in Ard Na Smoll, Dungiven where a viable bomb was left at the front of a house in the village. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.

Firefighters discovered a bomb planted in a wheelie bin which had been set on fire in Dungiven while they were tackling the blaze, police have revealed.

Army bomb squad officers spent most of the day working on the device found in the Ard Na Smoll area of the Co Londonderry village.

They have since left the area.

Police said they can't rule out a link to previous incidents in the area recently and said disruption is likely to last through the day.

Investigating officers are keen to track down two men seen running away in the area at around 9pm last night and have appealed for witnesses.

Superintendent John Magill, said: "The device that was made safe at Dungiven last night was viable. It could have injured or killed individuals.

"It was discovered by firefighters when they turned out to deal with two wheelie bins on fire at a house at Ard Na Smoll. Those firefighters, are local people giving up their time to help local communities in emergencies, and were put at risk by this device.

"This is the third viable device uncovered in the Dungiven area in the past four weeks.

"These incidents are not wanted in the Dungiven area, the condemnation of local political leaders and members of the community demonstrates that.

"As well as being unwelcome, the devices have led to the disruption of the lives of many individuals.

"Once again the message to those behind the devices is ‘get off the backs of the community’.

"While it is early to comment on a motive or who was behind last night’s device, the potential that is was linked to the other two cannot at this stage be ruled out.

"The particular appeal from detectives is for information about any unusual activity in the area. In particular we want to hear more about two men seen running away at about 9pm.

"Information can be given to police on the 101 non-emergency number, or alternatively to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

A wheelie bin was set on fire and placed at the door of Gavin Watson's home.

He told the Derry Journal those behind the attack were "sick" and his partner and two-year-old daughter "could have been killed".

Sinn Fein Councillor Sean McGlinchey condemned the incident

He said: "This is the third incident over the past few weeks that has resulted in disruption to the local community.

"Thankfully no one has been injured in this attack on a family home.

“The people behind this recent spate of devices have only achieved disruption of the local community.

 “These actions are achieving nothing. These actions have been rejected by the local community and they must stop.

“Again local residents were put in danger and the people who left this and the other devices need to stop these actions before someone is killed or seriously injured.

"Anyone with any information on this attack should bring it to the PSNI."

Independent unionist MLA Claire Sugden added: "I am concerned at the discovery of a viable device in the Ard Na Smoll area of Dungiven this morning.

"This is another potentially dangerous situation and I condemn it.  There is zero tolerance for activity like this.

"Dungiven is a quiet rural area where many families live, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes as part of the ongoing security alert. On a busy Tuesday school morning, this is causing disruption for many people who want to simply get on with their lives.

"This is the latest in a number of recent security alerts in the Dungiven and surrounding areas. People in this rural community are fed up with this type of disruption and intimidation; they just want to go about their daily business.

"I have requested to meet the PSNI about the ongoing situation in this part of my constituency. I urge people in the area to stay away from any suspicious objects, and to report them to the police immediately by dialling 999."

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