Belfast Telegraph

Terror group forces murder victim's brother to flee

By Donna Deeney

The brother of a man murdered earlier this year has received death threats from the vigilante organisation that murdered his sibling.

Republican Action Against Drugs shot Andrew Allen at the house in the Republic he moved to after being ordered out of Londonderry. Andrew’s brother is one of two men forced to flee their homes in the Waterside area of Derry after a police warning.

His mother Donna Smyth says she believes the dissidents are trying to pick her family off “one by one”.

Fearful but determined, she said: “I never thought I would ever find myself in this position a first time but to be back here again for a second time is horrendous and about as much as we can bear. We are still grieving deeply for Andrew. His death has taken its toll on our entire family and placed us in a position we never imagined we would be.

“I have to look at Andrew's two children, left without their father and now I face the possibility of three more grandchildren who could be left the same way. We have no redress against these people, they make false allegations and we are left powerless.”

She continued: “Andrew did what they asked but they still came after him, so how do we fight this? After my son received news of this threat, he left, not because he is guilty of anything, because he isn't, but he left in tears saying he won't put us through more heartache.

“This group seem to have some kind of a grudge against my family.

“Perhaps we are getting too close to the people who murdered Andrew but we have been left wondering if they are going to pick us off one by one.

“I feel I have one single politician on my side, prepared to help us no matter what and that is Pat Ramsey. He alone has supported us and is still trying to resolve this nightmare.”

Negotiations are under way with Mr Ramsey and the Rosemount Resource Centre attempting to safeguard the two Waterside men. Foyle MLA Mr Ramsey said both of the men threatened have fled in fear of their lives.

Mr Ramsey said: “Both of these young men are taking this threat very seriously and the Allen family who are still grieving the loss of Andy have been extremely traumatised by this development.

“There is absolutely no suggestion that either of these men are involved in drugs. I believe these threats are in connection with an ongoing feud in the Waterside.

“We have two families in turmoil and the Allen family are facing the possibility of losing another son and no mother deserves to endure the pain that Donna Smyth is suffering.”

Walls in several parts of the wider Top of the Hill area have been daubed with anti-RAAD graffiti, while threats against named individuals have also been sprayed on gable walls.

Mr Ramsey believes the death threats against Mr Allen and the other unnamed man are a development of this feud.

He said: “Tensions are very high within the Waterside at the moment and have escalated steadily since the death of Andy Allen.

“I spoke out about this last week after the Allen family made it clear to me they want to see an end to this graffiti and threats.

“The graffiti is dangerous as it threatens the safety of those who are named. It is also deeply offensive and unwelcome.”

And he added: “I have sought to facilitate through my office and with local stakeholders the prevalence of cool heads in this matter, but some have been determined to push the issue.

“The police have visited the two men concerned today to warn them of the threat, which has obviously caused great fear and anguish to their families.

“I call on the group who issued this threat to lift it immediately. They have no authority in this community to impose sentences on any of my constituents, nor anyone else.

“The actions of this group, despite intervention made by me and the Rosemount Resource Centre, is simply unacceptable and the disruption to these men's lives and their families' lives is unforgivable.”

Background

Waterside man Andrew Allen was shot dead at the Buncrana home he fled to after being ordered out of Londonderry by Republican Action Against Drugs in February.

The 24-year-old father of two was the first person murdered by the dissident republican organisation and his death marked an escalation in the level of violence perpetrated by the group. Following his funeral a vigil was held in the Waterside and a number of rallies calling for the group to disband attracting thousands of people were held in different parts of the city.

A cross border investigation between the PSNI and Garda has continued since Mr Allen's death but despite several arrests no one has been charged.

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