Army unit ‘killed unarmed civilians’ during Troubles

The North’s DPP has asked the police to investigate claims a British army unit killed unarmed civilians in the IRA heartland of west Belfast during the Troubles.

Barra McGrory requested PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to probe the allegations made in a BBC Panorama documentary.

The programme, which aired Thursday night, carried interviews with apparent members of the short-lived Military Reaction Force, who claimed drive-by shootings were carried out on nationalists manning barricades to keep out loyalists 40 years ago, even though there was no independent evidence any were paramilitaries.

There were claims the elite soldiers believed military regulations prohibitingfiring unless their lives were in immediate danger did not apply to them. Mr McGrory made the request to the PSNI on the grounds that criminal offences mayhave been committed.

“Former members of this unit appear to have claimed on camera that theyconsidered themselves to have been authorised to operate outside the law ofNorthern Ireland,” he said. “This raises the clear possibility, if not probability, that serious criminal offences were committed.”

Amnesty International has called for an inquiry into the allegations

The former soldiers claimed in the programme the unit had ultimately saved many lives because they had eliminated IRA killers.

One said: “We were not there to act like an army unit, we were there to act like a terror group. We were there in a position to go after IRA and kill them when we found them.”

Another ex-member said it was part of his mission to draw out the IRA and minimise its activities.


Lifestyle

Kate Tempest’s Vicar Street show began with the mother of all selfie moments. The 33 year-old poet and rapper disapproves of mid-concert photography and instructed the audience to get their snap-happy impulses out of the way at the outset. What was to follow would, she promised, be intense. We should give ourselves to the here and now and leave our phones in our pockets.Kate Tempest dives deep and dark in Dublin gig

Des O'Sullivan examines the lots up for auction in Bray.A Week in Antiques: Dirty tricks and past political campaigns

Following South Africa’s deserved Rugby World Cup victory I felt it was about time that I featured some of their wines.Wine with Leslie Williams

All your food news.The Menu: Food news with Joe McNamee

More From The Irish Examiner