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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Dissident threat 'significant'
Rosslea car bomb
A controlled explosion was carried out on the car at the police station
The threat from dissident republicans remains significant following a car bomb attack in County Fermanagh, the Chief Constable, Hugh Orde has said.

Army bomb experts were called in to examine a suspect car parked on the Clogh Road, Rosslea, shortly before 2300 BST on Saturday.

A controlled explosion was carried out on the vehicle which was packed with 130lbs of home-made explosives.

The device, which was primed and ready to use, was left in the car outside the police station in the village.

Mr Orde said the police were continuing to clamp down on the dissidents.

"As I have said quite often, and quite frequently in recent history, the threat is high," he said.

It could indeed have done damage and it also could have caused serious injury or loss of life
John Maxwell
Chief inspector

"If you look at the work we have done, at the work the Garda Siochana have done, there are a lot of dissidents in jail north and south of the border.

"The more successful we become, in a way the more dangerous that small minority become.

"They have no political philosophy and they have no local support.

"We are disrupting them and we will continue to fight against them."

Detectives said that had the car bomb gone off, it could have caused considerable damage to the police station and endangered the lives of people in the area.

Chief Inspector John Maxwell described it as a wreckless act.

"It could indeed have done damage and it also could have caused serious injury or loss of life," he said.

'Totally unacceptable'

"Not only to the security forces but anybody who was using the public road or was living near the area at the time.

"It is a travesty that anybody should drive such a device along a public road with the aim of hurting or causing damage and really anybody could have been endangered by this totally wreckless attack."

A nearby community shelter was made available for residents whose homes were evacuated.

It was several hours before they were allowed back into their homes.

Chairman of the Fermanagh District Policing Partnership Tom Elliot condemned the attack.

"'There now appears to be an added dimension to this republican tactic, not only to terrorise the unionist community but also to pressurise mainstream republicans and challenge their strategy," said the Ulster Unionist councillor.

Former assembly member Maurice Morrow said the incident highlighted the need for increased security in the area.

"We have border crossings being closed, not only closed but in fact being demolished, and all the time we have terrorists who are building up their arsenal," said the Democratic Unionist Party member.

"They come into Rosslea, plant a car bomb and the whole village is evacuated for a whole night.

"This is totally unacceptable."

BBC NI's Colette Maguire reports:
"An intensive security operation involving scores of security personnel was in full swing but nothing was found"

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