REPUBLICAN Action Against Drugs (RAAD) who have been responsible for a number of punishment shootings in the Strabane area during recent years has merged with other dissident republicans to form a ‘new IRA.’
In a statement, the new organisation claimed it had formed a “unified structure, under a single leadership.”
It said the organisation would be “subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army.”
Three of the four main dissident groups in the North have merged to reclaim the banner of the IRA in an escalation of attempts to de-stabilise power sharing.
The Real IRA has been joined by Republican Action Against Drugs, which has been responsible for a series of shootings in the Strabane area, and a coalition of independent armed republican groups – leaving only the Continuity IRA outside the new group.
The new paramilitary force is believed to include several hundred armed dissidents, including some former members of the Provisional IRA.
It is understood that among the republicans who have joined the new organisation are those responsible for the murder of PC Ronan Kerr in Omagh last year.
In its statement the new group said, “In recent years the establishment of a free and independent Ireland has suffered setbacks due to the failure among the leadership of Irish nationalism and fractures within republicanism.
It added that the “necessity of armed struggle in pursuit of Irish freedom” against what it described as “the forces of the British crown,” would only be avoided by the removal of the British military presence in Northern Ireland.
It demanded “an internationally observed timescale that details the dismantling of British political interference in our country.”