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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 17:58 GMT
Bomb attack was 'designed to kill'
Races were taking place when the bomb exploded
Races were taking place when the bomb exploded
A bomb which injured two teenagers at a horse racing event in south Armagh was "designed to maim or kill", the police have said.

The 16-year-old boys suffered slight injuries to their lower legs and hands in Saturday's blast, which is being blamed on dissident republican paramilitaries.

The police said the device appeared to have been aimed at members of the security forces.

It had been hidden under a police cone which was being used to ease traffic congestion at the annual Farmacaffley point-to-point races.


Two young boys were the victims of their evil designs

Gary Hagan
PSNI
The device exploded when the teenagers moved the cone to allow a waiting car to drive off.

The police said the device consisted of a quantity of high explosives and nails.

Chief Inspector Gary Hagan of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said the boys were lucky to be alive.

"This device was clearly designed to maim or kill and that was the sole intention of those who planted it," he said.

"It matters nothing to them that two young boys were the victims of their evil designs."

'Cowards'

The Newtownhamilton Road and the Keady Road were closed at Armagh while an Army bomb disposal team examined the scene. The roads re-opened later on Saturday evening.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid described those responsible for the explosion as the "lowest of the low".

Speaking in Galway, he called them "cowards" who had stooped to a new low.

"The perpetrators of this vicious explosion do not belong in any right-thinking society, they belong in the past," Mr Reid said.

UUP's Danny Kennedy
UUP's Danny Kennedy: Attempt to kill security forces
Ulster Unionist assembly member for the area Danny Kennedy said it was a "murderous attempt on the security forces".

He added: "Given the location, given the patter of recent developments, I think it's clear that the republican movement, in some shape or form, are responsible for this.

"The government have to defend law abiding people and have to ensure nothing they do compromises overall security in the area."

Conor Murphy, a Sinn Fein assembly member, pointed at dissident republican paramilitary involvement and called on them to disband.

"These people have nothing to offer, they have no strategy, no policies and no support," he said.

Dissident republicans, such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA, are opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Alex Fielding reports
"The device had been left under a police road cone"
See also:

03 Mar 02 | Northern Ireland
Boys injured in blast
04 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Republicans 'attacked officer's home'
18 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Security forces 'foil terrorist attack'
04 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Timeline: Dissident republican attacks
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