The PSNI police have arrested two teenage girls and are also questioning three male teenagers in connection with the death of Emmett Shiels, which has sparked tensions between mainstream and militant republicans in Derry.
An 18-year-old girl has already appeared in court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in connection with the murder, while a 16-year-old girl also remains in custody.
Mr Shiels, a 22-year-old, was shot in the Creggan area of the city after he became involved in a dispute between rival gangs of youths, some of whom wore masks, on June 24.
While the republican INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) issued a statement denying involvement in the incident, some media reports have said a connection exists between the gang responsible for the shooting and the INLA.
It has since emerged that a representative of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), which is allied to the INLA, met a brother of Mr Shiels to discuss the murder on Wednesday.
In a statement, the IRSP described the meeting as “satisfactory”. and there would be further meetings “when the movement are in a position to reveal facts and not speculation”.
Sinn Féin’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness blasted the shooting as “calculated and deliberate” and railed against republican “micro-groups” who he blamed for Mr Shiel’s death.
Speaking at a republican commemoration the day after Mr Shiel’s funeral, Mr McGuinness warned that “armed actions in the absence of a political strategy and popular support are pointless and do nothing to advance the cause of Irish freedom”.
“Earlier this week on the streets of this city a much loved member of our community was murdered,” he said.
“It was no accident. It was deliberate and it was calculated. It was also criminal. A young man from a family steeped in Irish republicanism was gunned down in our city.”
Mr McGuinness said that while no-one had claimed responsibility for the killing, hardliners were at a “fork in the road”.
“For them the choice is clear - choose the peaceful and democratic road to a united Ireland which is open to them, or they can choose to go down some sort of quasi-military cul-de-sac. There is no room for grey areas any longer.”
IRSP leader Willie Gallagher responded to the comments while delivering the graveside oration at the funeral of INLA Volunteer ‘Crip’ McWilliams this week.
“Our simple message to the British micro-minister and the chief macro-hypocrite Martin McGuinness is that we’re here and we’re not going away,” Mr Gallagher said.
“That is what Crip McWilliams believed and that is what he would have said if he were standing here today.”
INTERNMENT WITHOUT TRIAL
Meanwhile, a Derry man has accused the British and Irish authorities of colluding to simply intern those suspected of republican activities.
During a court appearance at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, Gary Donnelly, one of the so-called ‘Derry Four’, has said his continued detention in prison while awaiting trial for membership of the ‘Real IRA’ was unfair.
Under the law in the 26 Counties, the book of evidence must be served within 42 days of a first court appearance. Unlimited periods of extension can be granted by the court, however, and so far this has led to the men men being kept behind bars for almost four months without any immediate prospect of going to trial.
“I believe that this is nothing more than a form of internment,” Donnelly said.
“The British in this country are pulling the strings. Any word we have is from gardai in Donegal, who are not known for their integrity or honesty.”
Mr Donnelly and three others were arrested during a Garda police operation in Donegal. Gardai said they had interrupted an attempt by BBC journalists to inverview the ‘Real IRA’.
SF COUNCILLOR RESIGNS
A Sinn Féin councillor, suspended from the party for “contravening media protocols” because she criticised District Policing Partnerships, has resigned.
She is the third Sinn Féin member of Fermanagh council to resign from the party in just over a year. The complaint leading to her suspension said that she had publicly repudiated Sinn Féin policy on policing.
Ms Swift said she felt she had no choice but to leave the party after attempts to challenge the suspension were unsuccessful.