[Sinn Fein]

19th February 1999

Loyalist attempts to abduct nationalists

Statement from Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly on two attempts by loyalists to abduct nationalists in Belfast in the past two days.

Mr. Kelly said:

``In the first incident on Wednesday morning a delivery driver stopped on the Ormeau Embankment was approached by an armed and masked man. Only the mans quick thinking ensured that he was able to escape to safety. The man drove to the Donegal Pass RUC station and reported the incident. The RUC did not inform the media of the incident and have subsequently denied to the media that any serious incident occurred.

``Then last night the Red Hand Defenders organisation admitted the bomb attack on a nationalist resident living in the Greymount area. They also admitted having to abandon an attempt to abduct a leading Republican on the Whitewell Road last night. My party colleague Councillor Danny Lavery was on constituency business in thie area at the time and it appears that this planned abduction was to be directed at him.

``Almost daily attacks are taking place on nationalists across the six counties. It started off with pipe bombs, moved onto grenades and now we see armed and masked loyalists back on the streets. It has only been through good fortune that numerous people have not been killed. These are sinister developments and I would urge nationalists across the six counties to remain vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.''

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