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6 November 1997 Edition

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Lurgan youths attacked by RIR thugs

RIR SOLDIERS ATTACKED TWO LURGAN friends on two separate occasions last week. In the most serious attack, last Wednesday 29 October at 2.45pm16 year old Anthony Ganley was pushed through a plate glass window when an RIR man assaulted him in the town's William Street. Both Anthony and his 15 year old friend Kevin Scullion were on their way to see their solicitor to report an earlier attack on them by the RIR in North Street on Monday 27 October.

Then as the friends made their way up William Street after the attack the same RIR patrol threatened the youths and Patrick Scullion, Kevin's father, who was leaving solicitor Rosemary Nelson's office having himself made a complaint about RUC harassment.

``I'll get you right, you wee bastards,'' shouted the RIR man, a threat the solicitor heard. She has since made a statement to the RUC.

Wednesday's incident happened when an RUC member accompanying an RIR patrol stopped and searched the pair, then let them go. As they neared the Railway Bar one of the RIR soldiers ran at the youths shouting, ``I'll knock your fuck out''. He took his gun off and handed it to another member of the patrol and as he reached the pair he pushed Anthony against the window of a hairdressers twice. On the second push the youth went through the window suffering bruising to his back. While in Lurgan barracks making a complaint the RUC refused to get the lad a doctor to examine his injuries. The RIR man then threatened Kevin Scullion as he defended his friend.

The RUC man with the patrol, who has a reputation for abusing natinalists, denied he had seen the assault but asked the RIR man if he was going to arrest Anthony. At this Anthony was arrested, although he wasn't taken into custody and 20 minutes later the pair were let go.

When the youths arrived at Rosemary Nelson's office and pointed out their attacker to Patrick Scullion the RIR man made his threat.

Patrick Scullion had spent the morning shopping with his wife in Lurgan town centre. Scullion told An Phoblacht that as he went from shop to shop an RUC sergeant followed him about.

Scullion went to Lurgan barracks to make a complaint and as he left he met the RUC man in question who grabbed him when he told him he had just complained about him.

The original incident in North Street happened at 7.15 as the two lads walked past an RIR checkpoint. One soldier grabbed Anthony by the throat and another hit Kevin in the stomach with his rifle butt.

``He kept asking me my name, although I had given it to him, then a couple of women came and told him to let me go and he did''.

According to Patrick Scullion who came up to see what was happening the women heard Anthony giving his name and have made statements about the assault.

``These are very worrying incidents,'' said Patrick Scullion, ``it's as if the RIR and RUC are determined to attack the lads everytime they see them. They have told them both that as soon as they reached 17 they will be in Gough barracks''.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein councillor John O'Dowd told An Phoblacht that ``the crown forces are clearly involved in a campaign of violence against the nationalist population of Lurgan. There has been a litany of attacks, some very serious; it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed''.

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