Men Shot in Legs, Hands in ‘Paramilitary-style’ Attacks in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland
PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

Two men in the thirties have been shot in separate “paramilitary-style” attacks in the Ballymagroarty area of Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The pair were both shot in one leg, with one also being shot in the hands, according to the Belfast Telegraph — similar to many so-called “punishment shootings” which are not uncommon in Northern Ireland, despite the United Kingdom’s draconian gun control legislation.

They were both treated at the scene of their respective attacks in at O’Casey Court and Corrib Court by paramedics on Friday evening, before being transported to Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

Both victims are said to be in a stable condition, with the hospital’s managing trust saying their injuries were not life-threatening.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom to have a land border with another country, namely the Republic of Ireland.

This is kept open and largely uncontrolled in order to assuage tensions in the province, which is divided between a unionist (or “loyalist”) majority, which wishes to remain part of the United Kingdom, and a nationalist (or “republican”) minority, which favours union with the Republic of Ireland.

Both communities, which break largely but not exclusively along sectarian Protestant versus Roman Catholic lines, operated paramilitary organisations during the Troubles, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) attempted to separate Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom by force.

The terror campaign was largely defused in the 1990s with the signing of the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, but attacks do still occur from time to time — usually perpetrated by IRA splinter groups — and paramilitaries continue to operate to an extent within their own communities, dishing out punishment beatings to petty criminals and occasionally “kneecapping” them.

At this time the motivation for the attacks in Ballymagroarty is unknown, however.

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