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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 23:05 GMT
Police hunt loyalists after bomb death
Glen Branagh's friends visited the spot where he died
Glen Branagh's friends visited the spot where he died
The police have said they are hunting loyalist paramilitaries they believe were responsible for the device which killed a youth during rioting.

Glen Hugh Branagh, 16, a Protestant, from Mountcollyer Avenue, died in hospital after he was injured on the head and arm when a crude bomb exploded in his hand.

It happened during disturbances between crowds of nationalists and loyalists at North Queen Street after a Remembrance Day service on Sunday.

The police said they were being attacked by a crowd of loyalists at the sectarian flashpoint when the device exploded.

Glen Branagh died when crude bomb exploded
Glen Branagh died when crude bomb exploded

Assistant Chief Constable for Belfast Alan McQuillan said the device exploded as the youth was about to throw it.

And he said the police were determined to track down loyalist paramilitaries who had given him the bomb.

"This was a disaster waiting to happen. The 16-year-old lad killed was sent out yesterday to do this," he said.

"Somebody gave him that device and somebody set this up. I want to know who that is and deal with them and bring them before the courts."

Mr McQuillan added: "The nationalists at this stage had been pushed well back by the police and army.

RUC Assistant Chief Constable
Alan McQuillan: "We want to find those behind this"
"We saw no way in which this could have been thrown by nationalists. We believe that this was a loyalist device."

However, Eddie McClean, a Protestant community worker from the area, denied the youth had been preparing to throw the bomb.

He said the device had initially been thrown by nationalists and the youth was merely trying to throw it away.

But Sinn Fein north Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly denied this.

The police said 26 of their officers and two soldiers were injured in sustained rioting involving up to 400 people after Mr Branagh's death.

'Senseless'

On Monday, Mr Branagh's friends brought flowers to the spot where he was killed. There were also messages of support from loyalist paramilitaries.

David Trimble
David Trimble: "A senseless waste of human life'

Christine Dicks, a friend of Mr Branagh's family, said they were devastated by his death.

Meanwhile, politicians from across Northern Ireland have expressed their shock.

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble described Mr Branagh's death as "a senseless waste of human life".

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, of the DUP said the teenager's death was a terrible tragedy.

Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy said sectarian violence had brought pain and suffering yet again.

Baton round injuries

The nationalist SDLP assemblyman for north Belfast, Alban Maginness urged the assembly to urgently introduce legislation on crimes of hate.

He said the area he represented had seen the worst excesses of sectarian hatred in recent months.

In the disorder which followed Mr Branagh's death, the police fired nine plastic baton round after rioters threw petrol, blast and paint bombs.

A 14-year-old girl, Patricia Kelly, was treated in hospital after she was hit in the stomach with a baton round in North Queen Street, as she made her way home through the area.

An 11-year-old boy was also treated in hospital for a leg injury.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan:
"We want to find the people who were responsible for this device"
First Minister David Trimble:
"This is was a senseless waste of life"
See also:

12 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Trimble shock over 'senseless' death
12 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Bomb explodes in teenager's hand
12 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Dispute school security criticised
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
UDA linked to Belfast rioting
24 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Police hurt in violent clashes
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