Belfast [UK]: Northern Ireland police on Saturday arrested two men, aged 18 and 19 years, in connection with the killing of investigative journalist Lyra McKee who was shot during the riots in Londonderry.
The prominent 29-year-old scribe was killed in the Creggan area on April 18. The Police Service of Northern Ireland had released the CCTV footage of the shooting on Friday in a bid to elicit information from the community regarding the perpetrators.
The two suspects were arrested under the terrorism Act, according to CNN. They have been taken to a police station in central Belfast, according to the police.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is that people who were in the area last night and who recorded video and took photos to share what they have with us,” Northern Ireland Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said in a statement on Friday.
Authorities suspect the New Irish Republican Army (IRA), also referred to as the IRA dissidents, to be behind the killing, which has since been labelled as a terrorist incident. Over 50 petrol bombs were thrown at officers and gunshots were fired after a crowd gathered in the area on Thursday night.
This comes right ahead of the Easter weekend, during which the IRA marks the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, considered one of the most important dates in the struggle for Irish independence.
“People saw the gunman and people saw those who goaded young people out onto the streets, people know who they are. The answers to what happened last night lie within the community. I am asking people to do the right thing for Lyra McKee, for her family and for the city… help us stop this madness,” Jason Murphy added.
McKee is the first journalist to be killed in the UK since 2001, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Vigils are being held across Northern Ireland in memory of the rising journalist. McKee’s partner, Sara Canning, said that the young scribe’s “amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act,” during a vigil in Londonderry on Friday.
“Victims and LGBTQIA community are left without a tireless advocate and activist and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with,” she said.
The identity of the two arrested men has not been shared by the police yet. It is not known if they are related to the New IRA in any way.