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Police to probe if secretive Army unit conducted 1972 shooting and killing spree in Northern Ireland

By David Young

Detectives investigating the activities of a controversial Army unit during the Troubles have appealed for witnesses to two killings and a series of other shootings to come forward.

The PSNI's Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB) is probing allegations that members of the secretive Military Reaction Force (MRF), also known as the Military Reconnaissance Force, carried out random and unjustified shootings during the conflict.

Officers have issued a direct appeal for information about a series of shootings in Belfast in 1972.

They have also urged former members of the MRF to come forward.

The investigation by LIB was triggered after a referral by Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said: "We have been carrying out enquiries in relation to a number of shooting incidents between April and September 1972, during which two people were killed and a number of others were injured.

"We are looking at these incidents as part of an overall investigation into the activities of the Military Reaction Force at the time.

"We know these events took place a long time ago and we know they took place during one of the worst years of the Troubles when many shootings occurred but we believe there are people out there who can help us progress this investigation and we are appealing to them to contact us."

The incidents under investigation are:

The fatal shooting of 44-year-old Patrick McVeigh and shootings of four other men, aged 18, 25, 26 and 41, in the Riverdale Park area of west Belfast on May 12, 1972;

The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Daniel Rooney and shooting of an 18-year-old man in the St James Crescent area of west Belfast on September 26, 1972;

The shooting of two brothers, aged 19 and 30, in the Whiterock Road area of west Belfast, at approximately 8am on April 15, 1972;

The shooting of an 18-year-old man in the Glen Road area of west Belfast at approximately 9pm on May 6, 1972

The shooting of a 15-year-old boy outside a disco at St Oliver Plunkett School, Glen Road, Belfast, at approximately 11.50pm on May 7, 1972;

The shooting of an 18-year-old man in the Slievegallion area of west Belfast at approximately 11.30pm on May 12, 1972;

The shooting at a 34-year-old man in the Silvio Street area of north Belfast at approximately 12.20pm on May 26, 1972;

The shooting of four men, aged 18, 19, 21 and 28, in the Glen Road area of west Belfast, at approximately 12 midday, on June 22, 1972;

An incident during which a white Austin Morris vehicle, VRM COI8368, was shot at by a male who got out of what is believed to have been a stalled vehicle in the Kashmir Road area of west Belfast at approximately 2pm on May 9, 1972.

Anyone with information is urged to contact detectives on 028 92589128 or via email on LIBEnquiries@psni.pnn.police.uk

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