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17 January 2002 Edition

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Neighbour foils possible UDA attack on former prisoner

A loyalist attempt to kill a former republican prisoner in Ballycastle was foiled after a neighbour of the man stumbled on masked men behind houses in the Knockglade area of the North Antrim town.

According to information passed to An Phoblacht, a man living in Knockglade in the mainly nationalist town was in his back garden at about 8pm on Monday night, 14 January, when he came across two men dressed in black and wearing masks.

Our source says that the local man seemed to have startled the pair, who on seeing him charged at him and shouldered him out of the way before making their getaway through gardens and out into the front road.

The neighbour says that there was a car parked at the front with two men inside and that when the masked men reached it the occupants threw open the doors. The masked men jumped in and the car sped off along the Armoy Road.

According to our source, this latest attempt by loyalists to kill an ex-POW in the area may have been orchestrated by a leading loyalist from the North Antrim area. The man, known as 'The Mexican' is said to be the UDA 'Brigadier' in charge of the North Antrim and Derry UDA and was spotted in The Diamond in Ballycastle the day before the incident.

UDA activity in this area has been running at a high level in the past two years and the death squad has been behind numerous attacks on nationalists, including dozens of bomb attacks. Just before Christmas, a gun gang tried to kill a former republican prisoner as he drove from Ballycastle on the Armoy Road. The loyalists overtook the man's car and fired on him with an assault rifle, narrowly missing his head. The loyalists also tried to kill a workman in Clady in South Antrim as he waited for a lift to work in mid-November.

However, the UDA suffered a blow when one of its bombers, William Campbell, blew himself up when the bomb he was handling went off prematurely.

Sinn Féin councillor Philip McGuigan from nearby Dunloy called on nationalists living in the area to be on their guard "given that the UDA is pulling out all the stops to kill a Catholic".
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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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