Belfast Telegraph

Group issues death threat against 14 in west Belfast

By Rebecca Black

A sinister threat which goes "as far as execution" has been publicly issued against 14 men in an area of west Belfast.

A leaflet alleges that those named on it are drug dealers and orders them to "come forward to the republican movement".

It goes on to warn that "failure to do so will result on the severest punishment, even as far as execution", adding "take this as the only warning".

The leaflet has been 'signed' by AAD, believed to refer to the group Action Against Drugs, although the Belfast Telegraph understands that another, more secretive group is behind the threat.

It was distributed around the Beechmount and Springfield areas of west Belfast last Monday.

The PSNI last night refused to reveal whether any of the men had been attacked.

However, it is understood that a shooting last week in the St James area was linked to the list, although the wrong address was targeted.

The group behind the leaflet is believed to be a breakaway outfit which has also previously used the name of Oglaigh Na Eireann in the past and were responsible in 2015 for a series of devices left across the city in milk cartons.

PSNI Inspector Daniel Kelly confirmed that police are aware of the leaflet and warned groups against taking the law into their own hands.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey slammed those behind the leaflet as "extortionists" and "criminal gangs", and urged them to "get off the backs of the community".

"The organisations issuing these threats have a long history of extorting cash from drug dealers and other criminal elements in return for allowing them to continue inflicting misery on this community," he said.

"These people aren't interested in protecting communities, they're only interested in extorting cash.

"The reckless shooting in St James is yet another example of their callous disregard for the people of this area. All the indications are that this was a case of mistaken identity, as the house they targeted was close to the home of one of the individuals named on the list."

In a statement, Mr Kelly said: "Police are aware of a leaflet which has reportedly been circulated in the Beechmount area of Belfast which contains a number of names.

"We do not discuss the security of any individual; however, if we receive information that a person's life may be at risk we will inform them accordingly. We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk.

"The PSNI does not tolerate any type of vigilante activity and we would caution any individual or group against taking the law into their own hands. The PSNI is responsible for law enforcement in Northern Ireland - we are here to protect local people and we are proud to serve them."

In July, the Belfast Telegraph reported on a similar list on social media which named almost 50 people. It accused named individuals of housebreaking, joyriding and drug dealing.

In January, a list of names appeared on a Facebook page which has since been deleted, with updates when a person named on the list had been shot.

Belfast Telegraph

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