Responsibility for the murder of a prison officer in Northern Ireland has been admitted by an alliance of dissident republican splinter groups which came together in June.
The grouping, one of a number which style themselves “the IRA,” said they had killed David Black while on his way to work at Maghaberry prison, where republican dissident inmates have been staging a protest for more than a year.
The statement of admission said it had carried out the killing “in direct response to the torture and degradation of POWs (prisoners of war) held in Maghaberry.”
The murder was the first to be carried out by the new grouping, which announced its existence in June. It said then that two of what mainstream republicans call “micro-groups” would cooperate with an assortment of smaller groupings to carry on “armed struggle.”
The two largest components are the Real IRA and Republican Action Against Drugs. Their statement of claim, issued to the Belfast “Irish News,” accused the authorities of failing to keep to an agreement with protesting inmates.
It added: “The charade of hypocritical condemnation from the local political classes does nothing to resolve the issues created by their inactions.”
Three men were arrested for questioning about the Black killing, including prominent dissident Colin Duffy. All have since been released.
Belfast nationalist politician Alban Maginness said the attempt to justify the “outrageous murder” was totally unacceptable, describing Mr Black as an exemplary officer who had exercised impartiality.