Political will and unity is unshakeable, says Brown
Members of the public have been breaking their silence and volunteering information to police which may assist in the manhunt for the Massereene Army Barracks assassins, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.
A security source has revealed that police have been encouraged that some people are coming forward and that they are treating all tip-offs seriously.
“Some information is being volunteered to police and that is heartening but more people still need to come forward,” the source added.
Detectives are studying CCTV footage of the brutal attack and are carrying out forensic analysis of the abandoned green Vauxhall Cavalier, registration number TDZ 7309, which is believed to have been used by the killers.
As the major manhunt for the killers continued yesterday Prime Minister Gordon Brown flew into the Province for crisis talks with security and political chiefs, amid widening public disgust over the murders.
The Prime Minister arrived just after 8am amid tight security and stayed at the base for an hour where he talked privately with members of the dead soldiers’ regiment, the 38 Engineer Regiment.
He left the base at around 9.20am to meet with the Chief Constable and political leaders to deliver the message that the peace process would not be derailed by the attacks.
“What I've seen ... is the unity of the people of Northern Ireland and the unity of the political parties,” he said.
“That they are going to continue to work together and they want to send out a message to the world — as I do — that the political process will not and never be shaken.
“In fact, the political process is now unshakeable.”
After meeting the Prime Minister, Northern Ireland’s most senior soldier, Brigadier George Norton, said that the military community is shocked, saddened and angered by the attack.
He rejected claims that security at the front of the army base was lax and that, given the heightened security threat, the soldiers should perhaps not have left the barracks.
Brigadier Norton described the two soldiers — Sapper Mark Quinsey (23) and Sapper Cengiz Azimkar (21) — as “magnificent” servicemen who were gunned down in a “callous and clinical attack”.
He said the soldiers were off-duty, unarmed and dressed in desert combats ready to fly to Afghanistan when they were killed and he added that following the attack the Northern Ireland Guard Service and soldiers responded “with courage and professionalism”.
Brigadier Norton also said he remains confident in the work of the PSNI and the protection it provides.
“We will continue to live in Northern Ireland as part of the community,” he added.