Anger as bus hijacked and torched

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Politicians have condemned the hijacking and burning of a bus in Derry.

The Ulsterbus was hijacked and torched at Glengalliagh Road on Monday night.

Police said three masked men, including one who was armed with a gun, boarded the vehicle at around 10.30pm. They forced a passenger off before ordering the driver to move the bus into the middle of the road where it was set it alight. Glengalliagh Road was closed until this morning.

Translink have said it will cost over £100,000 to replace the bus.

There has been cross party condemnation of the incident.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said the impact of the attack may be felt longer than the immediate term in the area.

He said: “I condemn this in the strongest possible terms. Our thoughts are very much with the driver. This incident could have a massive impact to the local community in the immediate and longer term.

“We have the immediate impact and after-effect on the driver and his family and the trauma that they are going through, he was simply trying to do his job.

“There is also the effect it will have on the PSNI, who have been reluctant to move in because of the fear of booby-trap devices.

“There is also the massive disruption caused to the local community, with potentially jeopardizing children sitting their music GCSE today at St Brigid’s.

“There could also be implications for continued bus services for this area. Translink will not make any knee-jerk reactions but they are meeting with staff and trade unions about this to take stock.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McLaughlin called on those who burnt the bus to explain their actions.

“The people who threatened a bus driver and his passenger last night before burning his bus need to explain to people why they carried out these actions. Their actions have achieved nothing other than having deprived an entire community of a needed service, disruption to the community and putting the driver and his passenger under immense stress.

“If these people believe that their actions are political then they should not have a problem explaining their actions however the vast majority of people will see it as it was, a purely criminal act that inflicted hardship on the local community.

“The vast majority of people have endorsed the peace process in the recent elections and these unrepresented groups should listen to the voice of the people and stop their actions immediately.”

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000 or alternatively contact the ‘Crimestoppers’ charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.