VIDEO: Police chief condemns loyalist attacks

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Superintendent John Magill has condemned those behind a series of recent of punishment style attacks in the north Antrim and Coleraine areas.

The condemnation came as a man in his early twenties suffered potentially life changing injuries during a shooting in the Maple Drive area of Coleraine in the early hours of Thursday morning.

SuperintendantJohn Magill, District Commander, Causeway Coast and Glens District Command Unit speaking at a press conference at Coleraine PSNI Station after a 20 year old man was shot at Maple Drive in Coleraine in the early hours of Thursday morning. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

SuperintendantJohn Magill, District Commander, Causeway Coast and Glens District Command Unit speaking at a press conference at Coleraine PSNI Station after a 20 year old man was shot at Maple Drive in Coleraine in the early hours of Thursday morning. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Superintendent John Magill detailed four other attacks since January 2015.

Police believe all five may be linked:

• The shooting of a man in his 40s after masked men arrived at a house on the Finvoy Road, Ballymoney on 19 March.

• The shooting of a man in his 30s as he sat in a car on the Dunluce Road, Bushmills on 17 March.

• The assault of a 45 year old man by men armed with baseball bats in the Carnany Drive area of Ballymoney on 15 March.

• The murder of father of five Brian McIlhagga in Riverview Park, Ballymoney on 5 January.

Superintendent John Magill said: “We cannot discard the possibility that these incidents are linked and a strong line of enquiry concerns the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries. I also believe that the people involved in these offences may be closely aligned to the UDA.

“These attacks are absolutely unacceptable and there is no place for this type of activity in a civilised society. I also know that the vast majority of people in Ballymoney and north Antrim do not support these paramilitary style attacks.”

Superintendent Magill added: “I would ask for community support and information as we work to identify those responsible for the attacks.

“I would ask specifically that anyone who saw suspicious activity in the Maple Drive area at around 4am this morning provides that information to police.

“Indeed any person with information on any of these recent incidents should contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact police on the non-emergency number 101.”