Northern Ireland: 2 arrested over killing of prison officer David Black


Police forensic officers investigate the area were a car was fired upon by gunmen causing the death of a prison officer on the M1 motorway near Lurgan in Northern Ireland on November 1, 2012.



Two people have been arrested over the shooting of a Northern Irish prison officer.

Two men, aged 31 and 44, were taken into custody this morning in Lurgan, County Armagh, just miles from where prison officer David Black was shot dead in his car Thursday morning, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

The paper identified one of the suspects as Colin Duffy, a well-known dissident republican who has previously been tried for the murders of policemen and soldiers. He was acquitted in each case.

According to the Scotland Herald, Black, 52, — a 30-year veteran of the Prison Service who was approaching retirement — was ambushed on Northern Ireland's M1 motorway as he drove to work at the top-security Maghaberry jail.

Police found the suspected getaway car burned out in Lurgan, which is known as a power base for two IRA factions opposed to Northern Ireland's peace process, the Real IRA and Continuity IRA, the Associated Press reported.

However, no group has yet claimed responsibility, the AP wrote.

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Gerry Adams, the head of Irish republican group Sinn Fein, said today that any remaining armed groups were "are not the IRA and nobody should be under any illusion about that."

"There is no rationale now for the existence of armed groups or for carrying out armed actions in any part of this country," the Belfast Telegraph quotes him as saying.

According to UTV, Maghaberry was the scene of ongoing protests by dissident republican inmates.  

Black was the 30th prison officer to be killed in Northern Ireland since 1974. The last such murder was in 1993.

His death was deplored by both the Dublin and London governments.

The UK's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Therese Villiers, called the killing "cowardly and evil." In a statement to the House of Commons on Friday, she said the government would do everything in its power to "ensure the terrorists do not succeed," the Drogheda Independent reported.

The Irish government pledged to help hunt down those responsible.

"I know that I speak for every decent man, woman and child on this island, north and south, in expressing revulsion at this act," Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said in Dublin, according to the AP.

"There will be no return to the dark and violent days of the past."

Black's family have appealed for no retaliation.

UTV cited his widow Yvonne as saying "sadness and grief in another home will achieve nothing."

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