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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 12:50 GMT
Boys injured in blast
Dissident republicans are being blamed for a small explosion which has slightly injured two boys in County Armagh.

The boys, aged 15 and 16, are believed to have suffered slight shrapnel wounds and burns.

The blast is believed to have happened when a police cone containing a device was moved at Farmacaffley point-to-point races in south Armagh on Saturday.

Police officers were the most likely intended target, according to security sources.


The perpetrators of this vicious explosion do not belong in any right-thinking society, they belong in the past

Northern Ireland secretary John Reid

Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene.

The Newtownhamilton Road and the Keady Road were closed at Armagh, but re-opened later on Saturday evening.

Police Service of Northern Ireland inspector Jim Fulton branded the attack "reckless and indiscriminate".

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


These people have nothing to offer, they have no strategy, no policies and no support

Local Sinn Fein member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Conor Murphy

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 concluded.

Sinn Fein member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Conor Murphy, called on dissident republican paramilitaries to "disband at once".

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

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