Published Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Army bomb squad officers have been working on the device since Tuesday morning.
It was discovered near Cullyhanna and could have been used to attack a police helicopter responding to another incident. It is thought there could be more devices in the area.
An update from a PSNI spokesperson on Thursday morning said: "Army bomb experts are continuing to make safe a mortar type device in Cullyhanna. Police would like to thank the local community for their continued patience and support."
The device was found a fortnight after police issued a public appeal to the public to report anything suspicious in the area.
I hope that the area is made safe as soon as possible and life can return to normal for those affected
The Sheetrim Road is closed between the junctions of Bog Road and Kiltybane Road and a number of homes in the area were evacuated.
Only one family remain out of their home at this time.
Sinn Féin MP for the area, Conor Murphy, said it has caused much disruption.
"The alert was first raised a number of weeks ago that there may have been a suspect device in the Cullyhanna area," said the Newry and Armagh representative.
"Over the past day families on the Sheetrim Road have been evacuated and this is a great inconvenience for a rural, farming community, particularly when schools have just reopened."
Soldiers have been using sniffer dogs and metal detectors to scour hedgerows and culverts.
The finger of suspicion has been pointed at republican dissidents who have been responsible for the murders of two soldiers, a police officer and a prison guard in recent years.
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said: "I utterly condemn those responsible for the on-going security alert in Cullyhanna which has placed lives at risk and caused local people to be evacuated from their homes on the Sheetrim Road.
"Once again the local community has cause to thank the Police and Army for their diligent work to protect local people from harm. Their selfless actions are in total contrast to the actions of those whose twisted philosophy motivated them to leave explosive devices at the side of a public road, no doubt in a bid to murder members of the security forces."
In March, a mortar attack on a police station in Londonderry was foiled after a van with four viable devices primed and ready to launch was stopped.
DUP Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said: "There is obviously a speculation that dissident republicans are behind this and we have seen before the intent and capability of these groups intent on dragging us back to violence. Such a device has the potential to be devastating and we must be thankful that it has been discovered before any attempt to use it."
Dominic Bradley, SDLP MLA, said there is "palpable anger" in the community.
He continued: "The people of Cullyhanna and indeed the people of this Island want to be left in peace. Instead those responsible still live in some warped existence of the past.
"There is palpable anger in the local community. This community don't want this level of disruption as they go about their everyday lives. The community are relieved there have been no deaths or serious injury and they want those responsible to stop immediately."
© UTV News