A man whose home in Dungiven was targeted by bombers said his partner and two-year-old daughter could have been killed.
Gavin Watson said he received a phone call on Monday at approximately 8pm to say the wheelie bin outside his front door was on fire. He then discovered a suspicious device on his doorstep, which he described as a long tube with wires hanging out from the end.
Mr Watson told the ‘Journal’ he has no idea why he was targeted and may have to move house.
“I keep myself to myself. I don’t know,” Gavin told the ‘Journal’ as the scene remained cordoned off.
When asked what he would say to those who planted the bomb, Mr Watson said; “I don’t why they would even want to bother with me, or my house. They’re sick. I don’t know. My family are traumatised. They could have been killed.”
Mr Watson said two men were seen running from his house last night, one with a bandaged hand.
My family are traumatised. They could have been killed.Gavin Watson
ATO attended the scene on Monday night and declared the object a viable device.
A number of houses were evacuated.
Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey has said people in the Ard-Na-Smoll area, and in the wider Dungiven area, are angry at the third security alert in the area in as many weeks.
A viable device was found in nearby Banagher last week and, two weeks previously, a bomb was planted in Drumsurn. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed it had left the bomb in Drumsurn.
Colr. McGlinchey said it is time for a process to begin aimed at bringing armed republican groups into talks to end their campaigns.
“You see the response from residents - people just don’t want this activity in their area. The question is ‘why is this continuing?’. I can’t answer that. That’s for the people who did this,” said Colr. McGlinchey. “This is a built-up area and a lot of activity with children. People want to be left alone. People need to come together because this type of activity won’t do anyone any good.”
Ard-Na-Smoll resident, Hugh Hazlett told the ‘Journal’: “People who plant bombs in my community, where I live with my grandchildren, need to go away and not come back. It’s unacceptable, it’s unlawful and it’s unwanted. People are upset and angry and are asking ‘why?’. Children are being put in danger by faceless men, so I say ‘go away’. People do not want their children attacked at night by a bomb.”
Another resident told the ‘Journal her 90-year-old mother had been left “very distressed” by the incident and said people are angry about what happened.
PSNI Inspector McDonnell thanked local residents for their patience “during what has been a very disruptive night for them”.