Belfast Telegraph

Renegade RIRA gang in new terror campaign

By Stephen Breen

A RENEGADE republican gang, which was smashed by the security forces, last night vowed to step up its terror campaign, we can reveal.

A RENEGADE republican gang, which was smashed by the security forces, last night vowed to step up its terror campaign, we can reveal.

A senior security source warned that the Real IRA, in south Down, was intent on orchestrating more gun and bomb attacks against the security forces in the area.

The warning was issued, after the terror group was blamed for leaving a bomb at a roadside in Bryansford, just outside Newcastle, last month.

The lethal device was intended for a passing police patrol car, and is the first time the dissident gang have been active, since last year.

The PSNI scored a number of successes against the gang - also made up of former Continuity IRA members - after they discovered sub-machine-guns and bombs.

A leading dissident in the area, was also blasted in the legs by the Provos, in a paramilitary-style shooting.

But, the group have now re-formed and recruited new members - including a former Provo bomb-maker, who is believed to have made the bomb, which killed four UDR men outside Downpatrick, in 1990 - before vowing to embark on a fresh terror campaign.

The gang was previously responsible for bomb attacks against cops in Ardglass and Downpatrick.

Now, cops in the south Down area, are bracing themselves for further bomb attacks from the gang.

Although the terror group is not controlled by the Real IRA leadership, in Belfast, they have vowed to continue their campaign.

Said the terror spokesman: "The die-hard republicans in south Down, who want to continue the armed struggle, suffered a number of setbacks last year and couldn't operate for a while.

"But, now that the whole campaign, in south Down, has been reviewed, the dissidents feel the time is now right for them to kick-start their campaign.

"They have regrouped, and attracted some new members with previous terrorist experience before the 1994 ceasefires, and they intend to use it.

"They were very quiet for a while, but with the Provos having to worry about other things, they think their timing is ideal.

"PSNI officers and Army personnel obviously worried about this trend, and would hope to score some more successes against the dissidents, before they can launch anymore attacks."

sbreen@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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