Two devices at army base ‘could have killed’ - police chief

ATO at the scene of an incident at Rockport Park, Waterside, close to a Territorial Army base.
ATO at the scene of an incident at Rockport Park, Waterside, close to a Territorial Army base.

Two improvised explosives left outside an army training centre in Derry could have killed, police have confirmed.

PSNI Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan was speaking after the security alert at the gates to the rear of the Caw Army Reserve Centre beside homes at Rockport Park in the Waterside ended after 10pm last night.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

Local residents- some of whom are in their 80’s and have Alzheimer’s Disease- had been evacuated earlier yesterday and returned to their homes in the dark after the area was declared safe.

Police said that two bags with viable explosive devices were discovered near a fence at the Army Centre, and it is now understood the bags were placed there on Sunday night following a review of CCTV footage.

The evacuation of homes was only ordered however as Army Technical Officers (ATO) were tasked to the scene yesterday morning.

ATO examined the bags and discovered two improvised explosive devices ( IEDs ), which have now been made safe.

This was truly a reckless act which endangered local people’s lives.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “These devices had the capacity to kill or maim and our enquiries are underway into how and when they were left at this location.

“The IEDs which were contained within the two bags have now been taken away for forensic examination.

“An initial examination of CCTV footage in the area would indicate that the devices partially initiated at around 11.35pm last night [Sunday], but failed to fully explode.

“No warning was received by police and with the close proximity of homes nearby, this was truly a reckless act which endangered local people’s lives.”

WATERSIDE SECURITY ALERT. . . The DUP's William Hay, Drew Thompson and Gary Middleton at the scene of an incident on Monday afternoon at Rockport Park, Waterside, close to a Territorial Army base, where its alleged two suspicious objects were found. DER1715MC006

WATERSIDE SECURITY ALERT. . . The DUP's William Hay, Drew Thompson and Gary Middleton at the scene of an incident on Monday afternoon at Rockport Park, Waterside, close to a Territorial Army base, where its alleged two suspicious objects were found. DER1715MC006

The explosives were left close to the spot where David Caldwell (51) was killed in an explosion back in 2002.

The civilian construction worker’s death was the first deadly attack by the Real IRA since the Omagh bombing four years earlier.

Police at the time said the device was concealed in a lunchbox that Eglinton father-of-four Mr Caldwell picked up.

Chf Insp Callaghan added: “I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area recently or who has any information which may help police with our enquiries to contact officers at Strand Road on 101. Information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”