Wednesday, April 21, 2010
British Army On Derry Streets 2010
A specialist British army unit took part in a raid on a flat in the Creggan area of Derry last week, the 'Journal' has learned.
The raid took place on Wednesday at a flat in High Park where a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) was staying.
It is believed to be the first time that British military personnel have been involved in a house search in Derry in recent years.
The search on the flat lasted for several hours and those involved wore white overalls and face masks. The PSNI said the search was part of an "ongoing investigation into criminal activity".
A document given to the 32 CSM member by the PSNI during the search lists who was present during the search operation and includes the names of three British soldiers, a sergeant, lance corporal, and a sapper, who are described as being members of a "military search troop", based at Aldergrove.
The document, which the 'Journal' has seen, also lists PSNI officers and crime scene investigators and an individual described with the acronym, "MCFA".
A spokesperson for the British Army said he could not comment on whether troops took part in last week's raid but added that the PSNI can request "specialist" assistance."It is for the police to request specialist support. They would request specific capacity and we have that resource that they can call upon. That is the norm across the UK," the spokesperson explained.
The British army's 38-year mission in the North, 'Operation Banner', ended in July 2007 and troops, with the exception of bomb disposal experts, are no longer seen on the streets.
The 32CSM in Derry said they had previously suspected that undercover British army units were operating in republican areas. A spokesperson for the group said; "This confirms what republicans knew already; that the British army are involved in undercover operations in Derry. We now have documented proof of that.
"Here we have British soldiers harassing people and raiding houses in Creggan, just as they did in the 70s, 80s, and 90s."
A spokesperson for the PSNI said she could not comment on "operational matters.
British soldiers regularly raided homes in Creggan and other nationalist areas of Derry during the Troubles.