Mayor's home in 'vigilantes' swoop
Published 14/07/2012 | 00:00
A mayor's house has been searched by police involved in a major security operation against republican vigilantes in Londonderry.
Police seized a laptop, a camera and mobile phones as they raided the home of Kevin Campbell on the city's Creggan estate in the early hours.
Three men were arrested and eight guns recovered when other properties were checked as part of a huge investigation into Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), a group which has been linked to a number of so-called punishment shootings, killing one man.
Mr Campbell, a Sinn Fein councillor who was elected mayor of Derry last month, has demanded an apology from police chiefs after officers searched his home at 4.30am. He said: "I want answers. Someone made a decision to raid my home. Who made that decision and why? I want an explanation."
A council-owned laptop, a camera and three phones, two of them obsolete and the third belonging to his 10-year-old daughter, were taken away for examination.
Police said eight firearms and other items likely to be of use to terrorists were recovered during the operation.
Officers involved in some of the searches were attacked by youths throwing petrol bombs. The three arrested men were taken to Antrim for questioning.
RAAD was formed in 2008 by a group of former IRA men and since then has shot and wounded an estimated 40 youths and men whom they accused of drug dealings.
Several other people were ordered to leave Derry, and one, father-of-two Andy Allen, 24, was shot dead at his home in Buncrana, Co Donegal. His family emphatically reject claims that he was involved in drug dealing.
Police said the search of Mr Campbell's home and all other properties was carefully and properly considered. A statement added: "The policing operation was fast moving and fluid and required police to actively pursue suspects believed to be involved. During the operation police recovered eight weapons. Three men were arrested. Senior police commanders have met with Sinn Fein in the city this afternoon to discuss police actions."