Orange Volunteers claim Moneymore bomb attack

THE Orange Volunteers say they were behind an attack on a house at Moneymore.

Police said an Army techical officer made safe "a viable explosive device" in the back yard of a house at Smith Street.

A caller to the Mid-Ulster Mail using a code word claimed it was in response to “republican attacks on Protestant property and churches” in the area.

“The identity of the individuals behind these attacks is well known to the PSNI. Ample time has been given to the PSNI to act, and bring thise misguided individuals before the courts but sadly the system has failed the law abiding people of Moneymore,” added the caller.

Detectives at Cookstown have appealed for information about the incident and this can be provided through the Crimestoppers facility.

Inspector Sue Steen said: “This was a callous attack and it is unthinkable what the consequences may have been if the device had exploded.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have information to contact police as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, neighbouring Tobermore was closed for most of Friday morning while the Army dealt with a suspicious object outside a vacant shop on Main Street.

A number of houses in the area were also evacuated. Police said they are treating the incident as “an elaborate hoax.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Billy Armstrong has condemned thoses responsible:

“These devices had the intent to seriously injure someone, and the consequences of a child picking up such a device does not bear thinking about.

“The people of Mid-Ulster came through a horrendous ordeal during the Troubles and paid a terrible price in standing up to terrorism and criminality. The entire community wants to put those days behind us, and is horrifies at the thought of people running round this area planting bombs at will, threatening life and property, and creating traffic chaos and unnecessary inconvenience.”

And Cllr Ian McCrea added: "I totally condemn the leaving of a viable device in Moneymore. This device could have resulted in the loss of innocent life if detonated at the hands of a child or a passer by.

“The Tobermore incident was nothing other than an elaborate hoax and caused the residents of Tobermore a lot of distress, created unnecessary traffic tailbacks and disrupted business in the village.”