New loyalist `hit list' targets up to 80 nationalists
Nationalists and republicans have again been warned to remain vigilant after a new hit list containing the names and details of up to 80 people was found last week during an RUC and British Army raid on farm buildings in Clough, Co. Down.
The Orange Volunteers have been active in the area these past few months, launching pipe bomb attacks on Catholic individuals and property.
The Sinn Féin Assembly member for the area, Mick Murphy, said several republicans in the South Down area were contacted by the RUC last Friday. Murphy added: ``They were told that their photographs and addresses were discovered during a planned search early this week.''
At least one Sinn Féin councillor and a number of other party members' details were on the list found among the British military documents. Some documents contain information from 1996 British Army files with details of nationalists living in Newcastle, Castlewellan and Newry.
Last Tuesday, British Crown forces raided a garage in Clough and a farmhouse on the outskirts of Dundrum. A prominent loyalist was arrested but later released without charge.
Mick Murphy said many questions must be answered. ``What other items were discovered besides these photographs and addresses?'' he asked. ``Where did these documents originate and why did it take five days to inform people concerned that their details are in the hands of loyalists?''
The Assembly member added that the photographs and addresses can be traced back to files that the British Army at the Ballykinler camp had been passing to loyalists for decades.
``A year ago, I called for this former internment camp to be decommissioned as a confidence building measure. Instead, a new £1.3 million training school for cadets was opened earlier this year''.
Sinn Féin is called on nationalists and republicans to be vigilant as the discovery of the hit list is proof that collusion is still a fact of life.
It is the second time in nine months that there is evidence of recent British military intelligence ending up in the hands of loyalists.
Last November, documents containing information about 400 nationalists and Republicans, the majority from Belfast and South Armagh, were found in Stoneyford Orange hall in Antrim.
Copies of these files were held by members of the Orange Volunteers. The files contained details about republicans from British Army files compiled after the current IRA cessation came into force.