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Protestant Gunmen Kill Catholic Postman
North Irish Protestant Gunmen Kill Catholic Postman. BELFAST (Reuters ... 20, was gunned down in Rathcoole, a Protestant ... The quest for peace in Northern Ireland was
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BELFAST (Reuters) January 12 - A young Roman Catholic was shot dead in an attack claimed by Protestant guerrillas as he arrived for work on Saturday in Belfast, where dozens had been injured in mob violence this week.
Postman Daniel McColgan, 20, was gunned down in Rathcoole, a Protestant district on the edge of north Belfast. The killing was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a pro-British loyalist group, in a call to the BBC.
The quest for peace in Northern Ireland was shaken by riots in its capital on Wednesday and Thursday centered near a Catholic girls' school that became a symbol last year for sectarian violence in the British province.
``A 20-year-old Catholic lad was arriving for work this morning at postal offices in Rathcoole when two gunmen approached and fired a number of shots into him,'' acting superintendent Roy Suitters told reporters at the scene.
Security sources in the British province say the Red Hand Defenders is a cover name used by two Protestant groups, the Ulster Defense Association and the Loyalist Volunteer Force. Police believe the gunmen, who wore dark clothing and scarves covering their faces, had waited for the victim outside the sorting office. They escaped in a car later found burned.
``Sometimes when you have rioting and where tensions are raised these people feed off the back of that and they use this as some sort of excuse,'' Suitters said. ``They represent no-one, they have no cause to fight for, these are innocent people being gunned down for no other reason than that they are a Catholic.''
Politicians in Britain and Ireland condemned the violence. Northern Ireland ended 2001 with some hope of progress in solving conflict between Protestants and Catholics that has cost 3,600 lives, a quarter of them in north Belfast, in 30 years. ``Another young man has had his life cruelly and brutally ended,'' British Northern Ireland Secretary John
Reid said. ''Another family has been devastated by evil people.'' Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen said it ``represents a return to the brutality and futility of the past -- a past which we hoped was consigned to the darker pages of history.'' McColgan worked as a postman in the Whitewell area of Belfast, a scene of the mob violence this week. Media reports said he and his partner had a daughter around a year old. Northern Ireland's main Protestant guerrilla groups called cease-fires in 1994, and the Catholic-backed Irish Republican Army ceased hostilities in its war against British rule in 1997. The shaky Good Friday peace accord was reached in 1998.
In October 2001, Reid said the UDA and LVF had breached their cease-fires after pipe bomb attacks on Catholic homes, and the shooting death in September of journalist Martin O'Hagan, also claimed by the Red Hand Defenders. Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA's political ally Sinn Fein, on Saturday accused Britain of not doing enough.
``I want to put a special onus on the British government... they have tolerated a pogrom against Catholics in the north of the city (Belfast) and other parts of the six counties (Northern Ireland) going back to March this year,'' he told Sky News. Northern Ireland's guerrilla organizations can be divided into Roman Catholic ``republican'' groups, like the IRA, which sought to drive the British out of Northern Ireland, and Protestant ``loyalists'' who attack Catholics to cow the IRA and safeguard the province's union with Britain.