29 April 2004 Edition

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Loyalist weapons caches found

The loyalist pipe bombs uncovered in the Antrim area over the last fortnight were to be used in attacks on Catholic and nationalist targets, according to Sinn Féin Councillor Martin McManus.

Although the PSNI are remaining tight-lipped about which unionist paramilitary grouping is linked to the bombs, Sinn Féin's Martin McManus said he, "had no doubt the gun and bombs, which were 'viable devices', belonged to one or other unionist paramilitary gouping and were to be used against members of the Catholic and nationalist community.

"These weapons are designed to kill and maim and have been used extensively by loyalist thugs in attacks on Catholic homes over recent years", said McManus.

Meanwhile, two men, one in his 40s and the other in his 20s, have been arrested after a 'heavy duty machine gun' belonging to loyalist paramilitaries was discovered by the PSNI during a search of a house just outside Bushmills in County Antrim.

The Bren machine gun, which measures four feet in length and can fire 500 rounds per minute, was found in an outhouse of the property on the Ballyclough Road.

The gun, which has been descibed as 'a military type' weapon, was in prime condition and ready to be fired.

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