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EDITIONS
Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Dissidents blamed for army attack
A security operation at the TA base
The area was cordoned off after the explosion
The death of a man in an explosion at a Territorial Army base on the outskirts of Londonderry has been blamed on the dissident republican Real IRA.

The incident happened at 0720 BST on Thursday at the camp on the Limavady Road in the city.

David Caldwell, a 51-year-old civilian contractor, was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry where he died a short time later.

The former soldier with the Ulster Defence Regiment is thought to have picked up a device concealed in a lunchbox, which then exploded.

David Caldwell: Man killled in blast
David Caldwell: Former UDR soldier killed in blast

Security sources told the BBC they believed the Real IRA were behind the attack.

An Army spokesman described the incident as "an outrage, a despicable cowardly attack on an innocent civilian and should be condemned by all law-abiding people".

The dead man's partner said the family was devastated at his death.

Mavis McFaul said she could not understand why her partner was targeted. She appealed for no retaliation.

"I have a daughter and if they could see the families they leave behind, the heartbroken, they wouldn't do this."

Units based there included 152 Ambulance Regiment and 253 Field Ambulance, which provided TA personnel for peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks all over the world.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid said the base was chosen because it was a soft target.

"Throughout the north of the province we have had, over a number of months, a whole series of attacks on very soft targets involving dissident republicans.

"In every case you either have civilians or very soft targets being selected by dissidents for attack," he said.

Condemned

The attack was condemned by Secretary of State John Reid who described it as "utterly contemptible".

"Those who murdered this man at a volunteer medical centre are determined to bring down the peace process and the Belfast Agreement," he said.

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan both condemned the attack.

"Those who placed this device have nothing positive to offer the people of Northern Ireland," the said in a joint statement.

Gregory Campbell MP DUP
The DUP's Gregory Campbell condemned the attack

Democratic Unionist East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said the prime minister could no longer argue the peace process was working.

"I think it is inconceivable that it is anyone other than some form of republicans," he said.

"Whether it is dissidents or the Provisional IRA I don't think really matters. There is a man dead, a family that is grieving, and there is a government that are complacent as a result of all these events going on."

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said the killing was "absolutely and totally wrong".

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen said: "The people who carried out this cold blooded and cowardly act represent nobody but themselves."

A bomb attack in February at Magilligan Army base, County Londonderry, left a civilian worker critically injured.

At the time, police said they believed dissident republicans, opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process, were responsible.

Dissidents have also been blamed for attacks on nearby Army bases at Ballykelly and Ebrington.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Annita McVeigh
"The police are asking for any further information"
BBC NI's security correspondent Brian Rowan:
"Comparisons are being made with previous attacks"
Gregory Campbell, MP for east Londonderry:
"We've said all along that if these attacks continued there would be a murder"
See also:

01 Aug 02 | N Ireland
08 Feb 02 | N Ireland
08 Feb 02 | N Ireland
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