Pondelok, 9. december, 2019 | Meniny má Izabela

Commander of Bloody Sunday Troops Criticises Probe

LONDON (Reuters) - The commander of crack paratroopers in Northern Ireland who shot dead 14 unarmed Catholic protesters in 1972 expressed concern about a new inquiry into the killings, saying his men's actions had been justified. Colonel Derek Wilford ...

LONDON (Reuters) - The commander of crack paratroopers in Northern Ireland who shot dead 14 unarmed Catholic protesters in 1972 expressed concern about a new inquiry into the killings, saying his men's actions had been justified. Colonel Derek Wilford said the new probe into the "Bloody Sunday" killings should look instead at the politicians of the time who had decided to move his regiment from Belfast to Londonderry, a town they were not familiar with. "I'm afraid at the moment it seems to me that the government is merely looking for an excuse to apologise. I have no doubt that the apology will be made," Wilford told BBC television in a live interview. "My opinion is that there should not be an apology. There could only be an apology if it was proved beyond doubt that my soldiers shot people deliberately, which they did not." Wilford has consistently said his men fired on the crowd of demonstrators in Londonderry only after being shot at themselves, an explanation accepted by the first inquiry in 1972. But the results of that probe were cast into serious doubt by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who earlier in the day announced a new judicial investigation. The media has uncovered evidence alleging the paratroopers lied about their actions that day and could have opened fire after being mistakenly shot at by army snipers from positions overlooking the trouble. The trouble flared after his men -- renowned for their toughness -- were sent in to arrest some of the protesters. He accused Irish Republican Army guerrillas operating a no-go zone in the Bogside area of Londonderry at the time of engineering the trouble and said it was clear the British government had lost patience. Wilford said. "I think a decision was made that it was about time that the Londonderry situation was put right and putting it right of course (meant) taking away the IRA gunmen's control of the Bogside. I think the germ of it must have started in London," he said.

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