National & International

Armed men torch hijacked bus in Northern Ireland, no injuries

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A bus has been set on fire after being hijacked by armed, masked men in Newtownards, County Down, according to the BBC.

The hijacking happened in Abbot Drive at about 06:30 GMT on Monday.

The bus was hijacked and set on fire in the Pro-British Unionist town of Newtownards, according to the Northern Irish police.

All buses in the area have been temporarily suspended.

The two masked men expressed outrage at post-Brexit trade barriers, according to local media.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said it is understood the two masked men “muttered something about the protocol” during the attack.

Monday was the deadline previously set by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for progress on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“There was never any justification for masked gunmen on the streets of Northern Ireland and there never will be,” said DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesperson said: “At approximately 6.30 am, two masked and armed men boarded the bus and poured fuel over the vehicle before setting it alight.

“The driver managed to get off the bus unharmed but has been left badly shaken by the incident.”

“Alongside our criminal investigation, we will be stepping up our visible neighbourhood policing presence in this area in the coming days,” said Chief Inspector Trevor Atkinson.

“This is to provide reassurance to the local community,” he added.

Britain’s Northern Ireland Minister, Brandon Lewis, said the incident was “beyond despicable”.

Discontent over the protocol helped fuel the worst violence in the region for years in March and April.

The hijacking of a bus in Newtownards comes just months after a similar attack in west Belfast during loyalist rioting in April.

Image source: BBC

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