Vehicles hijacked in North violence

 

Armed men hijacked two vehicles in Co Armagh last night as disturbances continued in the area for a third successive night.

The trouble continued despite a PSNI crackdown on potential dissident republican violence, launched amid fears the extremists were plotting a campaign of disorder ahead of Tuesday’s arrival of Northern Ireland’s new Chief Constable, Matt Baggott.

In one of the hijacking incidents at a railway crossing in Lurgan, two men, one armed with a handgun, stopped a woman driver, told her they had strapped an explosive device to her lorry and ordered her to drive to the nearest police station.

The woman drove a short distance before stopping and calling police. An examination of the lorry found nothing suspicious.

In the other incident, five or six men - one armed with a gun and one with a knife - hijacked a man’s car at the Drumbeg roundabout in Craigavon.

The disorder first began on Thursday night in Lurgan after the jailing of three local dissident republicans for plotting to kill police officers.

During the first night of trouble, more than five vehicles were hijacked and set on fire and police reported receiving numerous reports of armed men on the streets in what they said was clearly preplanned and orchestrated violence.

On Friday the disturbances forced the closure of the rail line between Dublin and Belfast after another series of hijackings in the Lurgan/Craigavon area.

Police appealed for witnesses to come forward.

PA