23:47 GMT +319 September 2019
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    A police officer checks vehicles in South Belfast, Northern Ireland. File photo

    Belfast Man 'Kneecapped' in Both Legs as UK Gov't Campaigns Against Paramilitary-Style Attacks

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    The news comes as a string of similar attacks have been reported in local media in 2019, forcing Irish police to launch a campaign against paramilitary attacks via a UK government body.

    A man has been shot in a “paramilitary-style shooting” in Belfast, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

    The victim, aged in his forties, was found in the Ardoyne area of Belfast with both of his legs shot, according to police. The victim has been taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

    The PSNI are appealing for anyone with knowledge on the incident to call 101.

    The incident after another incident on 22 July where a victim, in his late twenties, was chased by his attackers on a busy Belfast high street until his assailants caught him near Kashmir Road and shot him repeatedly in the legs before fleeing the scene.

    “An ambulance crew were driving along the Springfield Road when they heard a number of shots,” an ambulance service spokesman said at the time.

    The victim was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital after police received reports that the victim had been shot “a number of times in the legs” around 19:45 that evening, emergency services said.

    Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann slammed the attack as “disgraceful” and said that the shooting had been carried out “in broad daylight and in full view of the local community”.

    A further incident was reported across Irish media on 24 March this year after the PSNI responded to another “paramilitary style attack,” where a victim was shot in the legs at Ardmonagh Parade around 20:05.

    No one else was injured in the attack, which also took place in broad daylight, the PSNI said.

    “This was a vicious and brutal attack at a time in the evening when families were going about their business,” PSNI Det Sgt Armstrong said in a press statement, adding that the attackers “thought it was acceptable to recklessly shoot this man in a built-up area where children and teenagers could be passing by shows the contempt they have for their community”.

    “The bullets could have strayed at any moment and hit someone passing by. This is utterly appalling and needs to stop,” Sgt Armstrong said.

    The news comes as the UK’s 'Ending the Harm' campaign found that 81 people had been victims of paramilitary attacks in Northern Ireland from July 2018 to June 2019, with 17 victims shot and 64 assaulted. 12 paramilitary assaults had been documented in June, the highest in one month since April 2009. The campaign has been effective, according to Anthony Harbinson of the UK’s ‘Tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme Board.

    The news also comes just days after tensions flared in Northern Ireland, where a ‘hoax’ bomb exploded on Monday, causing no injuries to police officers. The device was found near Wattle Bridge near Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh on Sunday, but detonated whilst officers combed the area on Monday morning. PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne called the incident a “sinister development”.

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    Tags:
    Londonderry, Belfast, paramilitary violence, Crime, Northern Ireland, the Troubles
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