Images have emerged of a show of strength by an apparent INLA unit amid increasing tension in the Derry area.
Five masked and armed men wearing military-style uniforms were photographed in a military formation before a gable wall bearing the letters INLA [Irish National Liberation Army].
Tensions have escalated between the PSNI police and INLA supporters following the arrest of two men in connection the firing of shots over the coffin of former INLA prisoner Michael McElkerney in May.
The group told media present that they were a “long-established armed group from within the community” and claimed responsibility for recent vigilante-style punishment attacks in Galliagh and the wider Derry area. It said it was responding to issues raised by residents: “We could not operate for so long without the support of the community.”
Meanwhile, a hoax device in the Beechwood area of Derry triggered an violent response from the PSNI. A local man was stripped and subjected to torturous restraints before being interrogated at a PSNI Musrgave base. He was released unconditionally several hours laters.
Saoradh in Derry said the victim was a party member and said the “silence” of elected representatives over the issue of state violence was “deafening”.
Ciarán Shiels of Madden and Finucane law firm said he had grave concerns about his treatment:
“Our client was arrested in the Northland Road area of Derry on Wednesday night by car loads of heavily armed police officers. He was forensically tied and had his clothing removed at a car at the scene and brought to Belfast under the arrest provisions of the Terrorism Act.
“I first got to see him at midnight last night where he was in serious sciatic pain from a long term back injury which has rendered him a virtual recluse.
“During the interviews, which lasted well into the night, he consistently denied all allegations from the immediate outset and not a single shred of incriminating evidence was put to him.
“Notwithstanding his condition, and the absence of even a scintilla of evidence, his release has only just been effected.”