NORTH Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey has called for appealed for information to help catch those responsible for a “disgraceful sectarian attack ” last night on land between the Springfield Road and Ballygomartin Road.
He said that a 16 year old Protestant boy was beaten and shot with a pellet gun in an attack by a group of around 7 nationalists.
The attack happened just before 11 pm on derelict land belonging to Invest NI, formerly the Mackies site.
The Protestant youth was walking to his home in the Woodvale area when the attack occurred.
He says the PSNI have confirmed that they are treating the attack as a sectarian hate crime.
Said the DUP MLA: “This was a very serious assault and sectarian attack.
“Not only was this youth assaulted and beaten by a cowardly mob, he was also shot in the arms with a pellet gun.
“Clearly this has been a very traumatic experience. He has required hospital treatment for his injuries, including to his face.
“This outrageous attack is totally unacceptable in any society.
“I appeal directly to those who know who was responsible for this barbaric attack to pass that information on to the police.
“This was a very serious crime and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
“There must be clear and unequivocal condemnation from all quarters and I urge representatives in the nationalist community to echo this appeal for information to be brought forward
“Comments made to the youth by the assailants made it clear that this was a sectarian assault.
“The PSNI has confirmed that they are treating it as a sectarian hate crime.
“There have been ongoing sectarian incidents in the vicinity of the Invest NI site, which have included arranged fights by youths and attacks on houses at Workman Avenue. We have repeatedly pressed Invest NI over the inadequacy of security fencing and will be demanding increased measures following this very serious incident, in association with local residents and the PSNI.
“Clearly this serious assault was intended to increase inter-community tensions in the run-up to parades and the summer months. We appeal for calm and for concerted efforts to prevent any escalation in this area. It is essential that the PSNI prioritise their investigation into this appalling attack so that the community at large will see that the perpetrators of such attacks will not get away with it and will be prosecuted,” added Mr Humphreys.