Lyra McKee was shot and killed while covering rioting in Derry two years ago.
Published: 2021-09-17 02:43 am
Two Men Charged With Murder of Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland
www.nytimes.com

Lyra McKee was shot and killed while covering rioting in Derry two years ago.

(image)
A mural of the journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed in 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.Credit...John Sibley/Reuters

Two men have been charged with the murder of the journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot and killed in 2019 during riots in the city of Derry in Northern Ireland.

The killing of the 29-year-old journalist was treated as a terrorist episode, and the authorities attributed it to militants opposed to British rule.

Detectives from Police Service Northern Ireland said late Thursday that two men — ages 21 and 33 — had been charged in her killing. They were also charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, rioting, possession of petrol bombs, throwing petrol bombs and arson. The 33-year-old was also charged with robbery.

A third man, who is 20, has been charged with rioting, possession of petrol bombs and throwing petrol bombs. None of the suspects have been publicly identified. They are expected in court on Friday morning.

A 19-year-old who was taken into custody with the three others this week was released pending a review by the Public Prosecution Service, the police said.

Ms. McKee was killed after some of the worst rioting to rock Northern Ireland in years.

Most of the violence took place in Creggan, a heavily Roman Catholic area of Derry, which is referred to as Londonderry by unionists who want the region to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The police had started carrying out searches in the area because of concerns that militant republicans were storing firearms and explosives in preparation for an attack to commemorate the 1916 rebellion in Dublin known as the Easter Rising.

The searches were followed by a riot in which some people threw gasoline bombs — more than 50, according to the police — and then the attack that killed Ms. McKee.

It was a frightening reminder of the deadly passions that fueled the conflict between militant groups of Catholic republicans and Protestant loyalists that led to nearly three decades of bloodshed until a peace agreement was signed in 1998.

Many people in Northern Ireland, primarily Catholics, want the region to break away from the United Kingdom and join the Republic of Ireland. But the number who pursue that end through violence is relatively small.

Ms. McKee spoke of her generation as the Ceasefire Babies, too young to remember the worst of the terror.

“I was 4,” she wrote in an article before her death. “We were the Good Friday Agreement generation, destined not to witness the horrors of war but to reap the spoils of peace. The spoils never seemed to reach us.”

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