Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Today as victim's worker William Frazer conducted a tour of South Armagh for a number of conflict resolution experts from Scotland, William Frazer's car was viciously attacked. The tour, which shows the sites of various murders and explains the victim's experiences of living during the Troubles, has been running for over 5 years. Over the five years, the tour has been appreciated by parties of students, media, victim's families, school groups, and other community organisations. It is an informative and commemorative tour aimed at telling the story of the forgotten victims.

Such is the hatred of Republicans that they use the opportunity of such tours to target victims. They have tried to drive our families from the South Armagh area, and now they are trying to keep us from commemorating our dead. The intolerance and naked sectarian hatred of these people has led them to destroy the memorials to our loved ones, to prevent our memorial services and to try and delete their evil activities from history. However just as they failed in the past so they will fail now as growing international interest in the victim's stories grows.

Today as one such tour was taking place, the car they were travelling in was savagely ambushed. Two vans overtook the car and then tried to swerve and push it off the road. A tirade of sectarian and hate abuse was directed at Mr Frazer who simply attempted to leave the scene. On failing to do this, they tried to box the car in and stop it. Spotting a typical Republican ambush technique, William Frazer took evasive action and contacted the police for assistance. He attempted to lead the attackers into an area where the police could effect their arrest. However such was the shortage of officers that this opportunity was lost. The officer present in the station at Crossmaglen could not leave and offer assistance and so William Frazer decided to travel towards Newtownhamilton police station, in the event that the Republicans would try any further attacks. Only yesterday, when William Frazer was conducting a similar tour with a researcher from the Republic of Ireland, did a senior South Armagh Republican, threaten William that he was going to be shot.

However Republicans anticipated the journey of William Frazer and were waiting in ambush, as they had done so many times in the South Armagh area. This raises the fundamental concern of how secure are PSNI communications in South Armagh. A group of Republicans armed with rocks and other weapons waited in the verge with an undetermined number of others lurking just ahead of the ambush. The aim was to cause the car to lose control and crash as large rocks were hurled at the windscreen from both sides of the road. Other rocks struck the car as it travelled at speed. This was attempted murder and we will be pressing the police to take appropriate action.

Fortunately, William Frazer was able to keep control of the vehicle and saved the lives of both his passengers and himself. Had it not been for his training and presence of mind the result could have been fatal. Two men in the party were very badly shaken and traumatised and in the interests of their safety the group made its way to the safety of Newtownhamilton Police station.

Speaking after the incident Frazer said " This is a sign of escalating attacks upon myself and other members of the protestant community and the police need to act now before lives are lost. I am treating this as attempted murder and will be asking serious questions of the police. Just over two weeks ago members of FAIR had a crisis meeting regarding security issues and police issued a shocking security assessment of the threats to myself and other workers. They suggest that I fit and carry a tracking devise aimed at countering the threat of ambush and kidnap. However the answer is an increase in the police and army presence in South Armagh. The scene of my attack used to be covered by watchtowers these have been taken down. If I had been killed today the blame would be laid apart from the actual Republican killers at the door of the British government, which have left my community defenceless. The fact that Republicans are still clearly targeting and are capable of organising operations like this should be a clear signal to politicians and the public. The PIRA in South Armagh are still targeting, recruiting and training terrorists, and they continue to use violence to intimidate and force their will on others. The only difference is the weapons they use, and their need to avoid the political fall-out of such operations. One other thing is similar - they have failed to intimidate and drive our people out for thirty years and they are failing now! "


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