Belfast Telegraph

Paramilitaries who shot boy (16) in legs are branded child abusers

By Allan Preston

The shooting of a 16-year-old boy in both legs by paramilitaries has been condemned as "child abuse".

It is believed the victim was shot by appointment at Aitnamona Crescent in west Belfast, close to the main Monagh Road, around 8.40pm on Sunday.

The teenager, who has not been named, is from Turf Lodge.

West Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Paul Maskey said those responsible were "at war with the community".

"There can be no place for this type of activity, and those responsible for shooting a young teenage boy have absolutely nothing to offer our society," he added. "Whoever did this does not act in the name of the local people. In fact, they are at war with the community.

"I would call on anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI."

UUP MLA Doug Beattie described the attack as "child abuse".

Mr Beattie said: "The fact that the victim in this case is so young means that this incident will attract greater publicity and condemnation. This was nothing less than child abuse.

"Had this boy been shot by the Army, the police or loyalists, then there would be a huge outcry.

"The fact he was shot by people from the republican community does not lessen the impact of this crime.

"As a democratic society, we should all be furious that this type of activity is taking place in our midst. There is no place in Northern Ireland for armed gangs of any type."

SDLP councillor Tim Atwood added: "Still in our communities there's people that don't react negatively. In the past, this didn't work anyhow. Nobody deserves this."

PSNI Chief Inspector Norman Hanslet said: "To shoot anyone is bad enough, but this is blatant child abuse and there should be no place for the shooting of a child in today's society."

"I know that the local community abhor this type of behaviour and I would ask people to support and assist police to bring these people to justice."

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