Roads closed in Co Derry security alert amid explosive device fears

Police investigating claims that an explosive device have been left in the rural Drumsurn area near Dungiven have closed a number of roads in the vicinity, including the Legavallon Road (pictured).

Police investigating claims that an explosive device have been left in the rural Drumsurn area near Dungiven have closed a number of roads in the vicinity, including the Legavallon Road (pictured).

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Police investigating claims that an explosive device have been left in the rural Drumsurn area near Dungiven have closed a number of roads in the vicinity, including the Legavallon Road.

Earlier the PSNI advised people in Dungiven to be vigilant following a report that an explosive device has been left in the area.

However, police then issued a statement saying: “As a point of clarity, we now believe the location referred to in a warning call is at Drumsurn, which is a rural area.”

An anonymous telephone call passed on to police at 2am this morning, Wednesday, November 11 claimed that a device had been left in the area.

Police say the call was made by a male with an Irish accent to a charity.

The caller said he represented the ‘Republican Movement’. The caller also claimed the device has been in the area for several days.

The area where the device is reported to have been left - the Belraugh Road off the Legavallon Road - is a mountainous, forest area outside the village of Drumsurn and is sparsely populated.

Chief Inspector Mark McClarence has asked local people to be vigilant. “If you see any suspicious objects, please do not touch them. Inform police straight away by dialling 999.”

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey, who lives in Dungiven, criticised police for releasing “such vague” information.

“The way the police handled this is ridiculous. They haven’t contacted any local councillors about something as serious as this, and the first I’m hearing about it is from the media. Putting such vague information like this out there has done nothing but worry people. Now everyone is asking ‘where is it, what is it?’. When you look at the size of Dungiven, it’s ridiculous,” said Colr. McGlinchey. “It’s keystone cops policing.”

Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín condemned those behind the security alert.

The East Derry MLA said: “Whoever is behind this incident has nothing to offer the community and should stop these actions immediately.”

Last month an East Derry Sinn Fein Councillor hit out at British army training in Drumsurn, claiming concerned residents say it is “terrifying” their children.

Colr. Chivers said training had taken place in the Legavallon Road area.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed reservists are involved in “essential training”.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “Councillor Chivers is correct in her assertion that reservists from 38 (Irish) Brigade were involved in essential training.

“This training ensures that the reservists, drawn from across the community, are ready for any commitments including humanitarian aid; for example reserve deployments to combat Ebola in western Africa and current international training against poachers in Gabon.”

Colr. Chivers said: “I have been contacted by concerned locals about troops training around Drumsurn and how this is terrifying their children who have witnessed many lorry loads of armed men. I contacted the PSNI and they simply said they are aware of the training that is going on.”

Colr. Chivers added: “This is 2015 and it is time for the entire County Derry area to be demilitarised as we have seen in recent years troops training in Magilligan, these actions are seriously hampering the growth of local tourism and simply are not wanted by local people given the history of the British army.”