Police are investigating an incident close to a filling station in the Finvoy Road area of Ballymoney on Saturday when three petrol bombs were thrown and a 20-year-old man was assaulted.
Inspector Colin Reeves said: “We need the local community to support and assist our enquiries by providing us with details of the people involved in this incident.
“We believe that three men got out of a silver coloured car around 4pm yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and each of them threw a petrol bomb at a hut close to a bonfire site on the Finvoy Road.
“While two failed to ignite, the other hit a 20-year-old man and partially exploded. He was then also attacked by one of the assailants carrying a metal pole. The victim was treated in hospital for minor injuries to his legs and hand.
“We are appealing to anyone who saw what happened or has information that would help our investigation to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 890 of 10/6/17.”
Expressing concern at the incident, UUP Councillor Darryl Wilson said he was “disgusted to hear that my friends were attacked in Finvoy over the weekend while building their 11th night bonfire”.
He continued: “I have been working closely with local bonfire builders for many years now and have built friendships and a good working relationship with the communities involved, including the Finvoy area.
“To learn that children were attacked with iron bars and petrol bombs has sickened me to the pit of my stomach. One young man has sustained injuries and had to be treated in hospital.
“The perpetrators knew fine well that attacking children with bars and a petrol bomb could cause serious harm or result in a death, those responsible must be apprehended and feel the full force of the law for these sickening and deplorable actions.I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time to come forward to the PSNI immediately.”
Voicing condemnation too, DUP Alderman John Finlay said: “I unreservedly condemn this disgraceful sectarian attack which will only heighten tensions in the weeks leading up to the Twelfth. I trust that the injured person will make a full and speedy recovery, and I urge the police to apprehend those responsible as quickly as possible.
I am also aware that republicans from Rasharkin are targeting young Protestants from the Finvoy area by intimidation and threats on social media and elsewhere. This is an extremely serious development, and I have been in touch with the police about it.
“Republicans have been defeated in the Westminster election and some of them might perhaps wish to vent their frustrations by threats and attacks upon the loyalist and Protestant community in Finvoy. I appeal to that community not to be provoked, to remain calm and to leave these matters in the hands of the PSNI.”