Taxi driver forced to bring bomb to police station
The SDLP has condemned a gang who forced a taxi driver to drive a large firebomb to a west Belfast police station, saying hundreds of lives were put at risk.
Councillor Margaret Walsh condemned the bombers who caused a security alert at Grosvenor Road police station last night. Police said army bomb disposal experts encountered a firebomb which contained a considerable amount of petrol.
The alert began at around 7.30 p.m. when two men were picked up by the driver at a depot in Upper Donegall Street. They initially asked to go to Leeson Street. However when they arrived at their destination, the taxi driver was forced at gunpoint to take them instead to Gibson Street in the nationalist lower Falls.
On their arrival, a suspicious object in a bin bag was placed in the back seat of the car. The taxi driver was then ordered to drive the device on his own to Grosvenor Road Police Station while the two men fled.
Ms Walsh said the bombers had shown a callous disregard for the lives of the taxi driver and others in the lower Falls.
"My response to this incident is one of shock," she said. "You'd think these type of incidents would be a thing of the past but the gang behind this put the lives of hundreds of people at risk.
"People in the lower Falls and this driver could have been seriously injured or killed by this unstable device.
Chief Inspector Peter Farrar of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's West Belfast District Command Unit said the driver had been placed under considerable stress.
"This was a very frightening ordeal for a taxi driver who was just out earning a living on New Year's Day," he said.
"Those assailants who forced him to do this were not only putting their lives and the life of the taxi driver at risk but also the lives of local residents and police officers as well."