Police in Derry/Londonderry came under attack in the city last night (Wednesday, 5th August) when officers were dealing with a security alert on the Skeoge Road.
As officers attended the scene where a suspicious object had been reported, and later declared an elaborate hoax, there was disorder involving a number of youths who threw petrol bombs and paint bombs at police.
Later in the evening, at around 10:30pm, police received a report that a white recovery truck was hijacked in the vicinity of the Galliagh Roundabout. The driver and his passenger were stopped by two, possibly three men, on the road.
One of the men then poured fuel inside the vehicle, covering the driver. Both males managed to escape from the vehicle in what was a terrifying ordeal for them and get to safety before the truck was set alight. NIFRS and police attended the scene where a crowd of around 150 people had gathered. Some of those who had gathered threw missiles, including stones and bottles, at officers. A petrol bomb was also thrown but failed to ignite.
As this was taking place, police received a report of an attempted hijacking in Galliagh Park where a woman was stopped by a young masked male who tried to take her vehicle – a black Kia – using a wheelbrace. The woman managed to flee to safety. Damage was caused to the car door, and the woman was understandably left shaken.
At around 12:40am today, we received a report that a van was hijacked in the Fergleen Park area and set on fire.
Another attempted hijacking was reported just after 2am this morning; this time in the Fairview Road area. It was reported around 20 masked individuals, some armed with metal bars, tried to take a man’s car, but without success.
Speaking about the incidents last night and in recent days, Derry & Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Emma Bond said: “This has been the third night of disorder in our city at the hands of cowards determined to cause disruption in our communities. It is unacceptable and I am very disappointed people made a deliberate decision to go out onto the streets and cause trouble.
“Yesterday, the world’s media was focused on the city as John Hume was laid to rest.
“The scenes in our communities last night are not representative of this city.
“I want to stress the disorder we have seen on our streets over the past few nights has been caused by a minority of people who have absolutely no regard for our communities being impacted, and the people who live here.
“I am urging those who have been engaged in this recent violence, and anyone tempted to become involved in this type of criminal behaviour, to stop and consider the consequences of their actions, and desist immediately.
“I would also urge anyone, including those who gathered to watch this disorder last night to understand this is not entertainment. This is dangerous, reckless activity, which has a significant impact on not only the people whose vehicles were targeted, but also on the local communities.
“I want to finish by thanking the community and elected representatives who worked last night to engage with those involved to leave the area. I would continue to ask those in the community to continue to use their influence to help us maintain control of the situation so we don’t have another night of disorder and our communities don’t come under attack again.
“We have gathered evidence in relation to these incidents and are working to identify those responsible and those involved and we can assure the public we will be working towards making arrests.
“Our priority is keeping people safe, and I want to reassure the people of this city that our response, should there be any further disorder, will continue to be proportionate and we will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible. “