4 November 1999 Edition

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Divis resident threatened

TWO WEEKS after two British soldiers in civilian clothes were caught attacking houses in the Short Strand area of East Belfast in the company of loyalists, a further incident has occurred at Divis Tower in the Falls area.

According to a resident who spoke to An Phoblacht, two men with English accents arrived at the tower block in the early hours of Friday morning and threatened a security guard, demanding to be allowed in to see their ``friends on the 18th floor''.

The British army occupies both the top floors of the huge block.

John Leatham, a Sinn Féin representative who lives in the flats, said that when he went to the scene the two men ``who were clearly drunk, verbally abused me, and then threatened to shoot me''.

Leatham said it was clear from what the two were saying to him that they were aware of who he was. ``It was a scary situation, because one of the men behaved as if he was armed, and at one point acted as if he was about to take the gun out and use it.''

Meanwhile, a Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Fra McCann, has called for the British army to dismantle its spy post on top of the tower block.

``The British soldiers occupying this base have constantly hassled residents. On numerous occasions, armed soldiers have forced residents from the lifts at gunpoint so they could go up. In the past couple of weeks, men in plain clothes have been seen coming out of Divis Tower and getting into British army jeeps. All this adds up to a very worrying situation.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1