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6 March 1997 Edition

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Derry raids were a cover-up

A Derryman who discovered a sophisticated tracking device under his car last Thursday 27 February was subjected to a terrifying crown forces raid on his home in the early hours of Friday 28 February. John McVeigh, his wife Joanne and three children aged 11,9 and 6 were asleep when the RUC broke their way into their Foyle Springs home.

McVeigh said he was forced into his bedroom at gunpoint and held there, unable to attend his children who were screaming in another room. ``We were forced to lie on the bedroom floor at gunpoint. They refused to identify themselves at this stage, and prevented us from reaching the children who have since found it difficult to live in the house,'' McVeigh told a press conference on Monday.

According to McVeigh, ``the only reason for the raid was to recover this device''.

Sinn Fein have linked the discovery of the device to three days of searches and roadblocks in Creggan by the crown forces who maintained they were looking for ``an explosive device''. Councillor Cathal Crumley described the British operation as ``an elaborate cover-up''. No explosive device was found.

John McVeigh explained how he left his car in a local garage last Thursday and a mechanic found the device secured by magnets and well-hidden under his car. McVeigh brought the device to the local Derry Journal newspaper where it was photographed.

Unable to contact his solicitor on Thursday, McVeigh stored the device in his garage, from where the RUC retrieved it in the early hours of Friday morning.

Sinn Fein is now urging nationalists to check their vehicles and property.

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