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Northern Ireland weeps; Republicans riot

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Northern Ireland weeps; Republicans riot


Locals have left floral tributes outside the army base in Northern Ireland, where violence first struck the province, after more than a decade of relative calm.

The authorities say they are questioning nine people over the killings of two soldiers at the Massereene barracks and a police officer in Craigavon last week. They have flagged down motorists to question them in a search for new leads. Rioting flared in the town of Lurgan on Saturday, after a prominent Republican was brought in for questioning over the case. Youths attacked police with petrol bombs. Colin Duffy is the best known Irish Republican in Lurgan. A former IRA member, he has distanced himself from the mainstream organisation since power-sharing in the province. Splinter groups of the IRA, which formally ended its military campaign against British control four years ago, said they were behind last week’s deadly attacks. They want the province to leave the UK and become part of Ireland. But Northern Ireland’s top police officer Hugh Orde insists there are only around 300 of them in the region, and they are part of small, disorganized and infiltrated groups, he says. Still he admits they have succeeded in making around 25 attempts over the past 18 months to kill officers in the province. The recent events have revived fears of a return to the sectarian violence before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In around 30 years, 3600 people were killed.

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