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Service marks fifth anniversary of Massereene murders

A cross-community service of remembrance has taken place at the site where two soldiers were murdered by dissident republicans five years ago.

Rev Stephen McBride from All Saints Church of Ireland joined Father Sean Emerson at the gates of the former Massereene Army Barracks yesterday.

Prayers were said for Sappers Mark Quinsey (24) and Patrick Azimkar (21), who were killed at there by gunmen.

The soldiers had been collecting pizzas for their colleagues just hours before they had been due to deploy to Afghanistan from the then base. A pizza delivery man was also injured in the hail of bullets.

An act of remembrance took place at the memorial to the soldiers in Market Square, Antrim, before a service outside the former barracks.

Ulster Unionist councillor and chairman of the Antrim branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), Paul Michael, said people in the area could hardly believe it had already been five years.

"It shows how strong the feeling still is in Antrim that people are still so keen to remember them," he said.

When the Army vacated Massereene in 2012, they took a memorial to Sappers Quincey and Azimkar with them. The RBL erected a memorial to them at the cenotaph at Market Square, but talks are under way about founding a new one at the site of the shooting.

PUP's Ken Wilkinson, who also attended, said he was in touch with the family of Sapper Azimkar and said acts of remembrance meant a lot to them. The sappers' families did not attend.

On Monday, the Belfast Telegraph reported comments made by the mother of Patrick Azimkar paying tribute to the people of Antrim for remembering her son.

She said it "warmed" a cold place for her.

Belfast Telegraph