Published Thursday, 29 August 2013
The alert, which was first raised on Tuesday and lasted into a third day, has now ended and all roads in the area have been reopened.
Newry and Mourne Area Commander, Chief Inspector Davy Beck, has thanked the community for their patience: "We are doing our utmost to bring this operation to a safe conclusion. Throughout this incident the safety of the public and police officers has been at the forefront of our planning and actions and this will continue until we are confident that the area is secure.
"We know only too well the death and destruction such devices can cause and there is no doubt that the intention of those behind these devices is to kill police officers who serve this community on a daily basis.
"We also know how inaccurate and uncontrollable these type of devices are and, to leave them in an area accessible to the public shows the total disregard these people have for the local community in Cullyhanna."
He continued: "Their actions can only be described as ruthless and mindless. I would like to thank the local community for their patience as we continue to work in their area. I would also like to pay tribute to the Army Technical officer who is working tirelessly to bring this matter to a safe conclusion."
A full investigation has now been launched and police are appealing for anyone who noticed any activity around the area in the previous few weeks or have noticed vehicles which don't normally frequent the area to let them know.
Sinn Fein Councillor Colman Burns said: "It is worrying to know there is a viable device so close to homes, there has been much disruption for residents, many of whom are farmers who need to work their farms.
The discovery of these devices is a very sinister reminder of the threat our police officers face in serving the community. This type of activity is not wanted and police need the assistance of the community to ensure those who would wish to wreak terror do not succeed.
Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly
"For two weeks we have all been waiting to know what it was and where it was but hopefully this will end soon."
Victims' group campaigner Willie Frazer said: "I'd like to thank the police for the work they have done. They've spoiled an attempt of mass murder.
"This has to stop, nothing can move in this area without the say so of the republican movement - they need to stop."
Justice Minister David Ford has praised the policing operation in the Cullyhanna area of South Armagh and condemned those who planted the mortar type devices.
David Ford said: "Let's be clear. Those who planted these devices had death on their minds. Their reckless and murderous actions contrast with those of the police and bomb disposal team who have been working to protect the local community. I regret the disruption to those forced to move out of their homes, but it is clear who has caused that.
"If anyone in the community has any information that might help bring the people responsible for this to justice, if they saw anything suspicious, I would ask them to contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 or the police."
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