Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents' gun attack on boy (17) child abuse, say horrified residents

By Donna Deeney

Dissident republicans behind a gun attack on a teenage boy have faced a serious backlash from people in Londonderry who rejected their violence as "child abuse".

The 17-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to his leg after at least two masked men forced their way into his home in the Bogside at around 10.45pm on Wednesday.

One was armed with a baton or wooden bat and the other with a handgun.

The teenager's mother, who is in her 50s, was also assaulted by the men. She was taken to hospital for treatment. Two other adults understood to have been in the house in Gartan Square at the time were not hurt.

People living in the neighbourhood slammed the attack.

Peter O'Doherty said: "Nothing can be solved down the barrel of a gun.

"All this does is sicken people, this young lad isn't even an adult yet so this isn't anything other than child abuse. This is a savage's way of dealing with problems in the community and we should be above that."

The chair of the local policing partnership, Drew Thompson, said that the attack was unjustified.

He said: "The criminal gang that carried out the shooting have no concern for people living in the area and no matter what rationale is put forward for this attack, it has no place in our society."

SLDP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood is to meet the PSNI to discuss an upsurge in dissident attacks.

Mr Eastwood said: "These thugs must be found and brought to justice. They cannot take the law into their own hands under any circumstances. These actions achieve nothing but cause pain, destruction and fear - not only to the victims directly involved, but to families living here in the Bogside."

Sinn Fein councillor Colly Kelly said: "It's important to repeat the message that there is no place for guns or such actions on the streets of our city. I would appeal for anyone with information to contact the PSNI."

A police spokeswoman added: "While thankfully this young man's injuries are not life threatening, this was a brutal attack and yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence."

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