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15 January 1998 Edition

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Abduction bids on two nationalists

By Ciaran Smith

An Phoblacht has learned that loyalists tried to abduct Catholics in two separate incidents in the past week in Belfast.

In the first incident a Catholic man, coming home from work in Harland and Wolff shipyard in East Belfast on Monday, took a lift from two men he believed were workmates.

The man, who wants to remain nameless, was returning home when the men, in a blue Ford Escort car, offered him a lift to the city centre. Once he was inside the car he was subjected to verbal sectarian abuse and was told he would have his throat cut.

The car proceeded towards the Upper Ormeau Road when in a panic, the man grabbed the steering wheel causing the car to crash just outside the Rose and Crown bar in the Lower Ormeau.

The second incident occurred on Tuesday, as the man, who wishes also to remain nameless, was opening the Rupert Stanley college on the Whiterock Road.

He told An Phoblacht, ``I was going through a small side gate when I heard a car which seemed to be driving normally. When I got to the shutters the car drove past but then suddenly it reversed back and a man got out and started chasing me. I ran around the building and tried to climb over the fence but it was too high so I hid at the back of the building. I thought I was going to be killed. Then I heard the car speeding off but I didn't want to get up just in case there was someone still there, so I waited a few minutes and then got up and went into the building.''

The man phoned the RUC but they told him that because nothing had happened they couldn't do anything so he got in touch with his local Sinn Fein representative Peter Murphy.

Murphy said, ``This was a completely random attack. The man who was targeted is a family man with three kids and is a respected man in the area. He is involved in community work and enjoys helping out whenever he can.''

In a statement Sinn Fein councillor Sue Ramsey said, ``Nationalists need to be extra vigilant both at home and on route to and from work. Loyalists are clearly intent on continuing their campaign to murder Catholics.''
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