Controlled explosion carried out on viable device in Banagher, Co. Derry

ATO at the security alert in Banagher.
ATO at the security alert in Banagher.

A viable device has been found in Banagher, near Dungiven, during a security alert and a controlled explosion has been carried out.

The security alert is expected to continue until tomorrow, police have said.

An anonymous telephone call warning was passed to police on Tuesday night claiming an explosive device had been left in the Carnanbane Road area.

The ‘Journal’ understands the call was made to a charity and a code word was used in the warning.

The ‘Journal’ understands the search concentrated on a laneway off the Carnanbane Road.

The Carnanbane Road, between Feeny and Dungiven, is popular with walkers on their way to Banagher Glen.

Local priest, Fr. Art O’Reilly said: “Who is stirring this up, or what is causing it, I don’t know. It seems futile and ridiculous. You would think we would have got over this type of disruption by this stage.”

Superintendent John Magill said: “This is the second security alert in the area since mid-November. Again, we have had road closures and disruption caused to a rural community.

“People are trying to go about their day to day lives. They are trying to get children to school, visit elderly relatives and go about their working week. The last thing people need is the recklessness and disruption created by these incidents.

“We have had officers in the area since yesterday evening (24 November). These officers have worked hard to keep people safe during the security alert. However, these same officers could have been better used in meeting areas of community concern during the past 21 hours. Arresting drug dealers, drink drivers or working with victims of domestic abuse, for example.

“The blame for this incident lies squarely on the reckless individuals who placed the device. My message for them is simple; give the community a break.”

Supt Magill concluded: “I would ask anyone with information on those who may be responsible to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Or, you can contact Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.”

Sinn Féin Colr. Tony McCaul condemned those responsible .

“The people who are carrying out these acts are offering nothing but misery to the very community they claim to represent. If they have the interests of the local community at heart then they would listen to it and desist immediately from this type of activity.”

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