A BUS was hijacked and destroyed in the Newtownabbey area of North Belfast last night after four masked men boarded the vehicle and ordered passengers and the driver to disembark.
The incident took place near the Valley Leisure Centre on Church Rd at around 19:45 on Sunday evening, though police have been keen to stress that nobody was injured.
It comes a mere six days after two armed men boarded a bus in Newtownards, Co Down, and set it alight on the morning of Monday 1 November.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said that it was ‘disgraceful and disgusting’ for public transport workers to be targeted in this way.
“Translink buses are public assets. Without them people can’t get to and from work, or school, or hospital appointments.
“Our bus drivers are working class people who deserve to be safe in their jobs,” Mallon said.
“People using public transport also deserve to feel safe and be able to go about their business without fear.”
Bus burning Rathcoole. pic.twitter.com/VQrPjiPgKs
— Clifford Peeples🇬🇧 (@CliffordPeeples) November 7, 2021
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, meanwhile, tweeted of the incident:
“Such criminal behaviour could lead to death or serious injury.
“This only harms local people and local communities. It serves no cause whatsoever.
“The ringleaders should step back. Change is brought about by politics not by burning buses.”
UUP leader Doug Beattie condemned the attack, asking: “Terrorising society with the hope of achieving what exactly?
“This is utterly pathetic and it needs to stop. Those responsible do not represent the overwhelming majority who just want a peaceful society.”