VILNIUS - A guest worker has been shot in an assault on Eastern European immigrants in Northern Ireland, the second attack on Lithuanian guest workers in as many months.
The 28-year-old male was blasted in the chest by a shotgun on Lineside Coalisland late night on May 24. He is reported to be in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit of Craigavon Area Hospital. Police do not think the incident is racially motivated.
A 21-year-old man is being held for questioning in connection with the case. Three people were detained by police after three separate raids were carried out in the Coalisland, Dungannon and Stewartstown areas on May 25.
The other two detainees, one female aged 19 and one male aged 20, have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
The identity of the victim has not been released. A spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that they are treating the attack as attempted murder.
Local leaders across the sectarian divide spoke out against the attacks.
"This type of behavior needs to stop and whatever the circumstances we need to stand off. We need to say this to our community too," local Sinn Fein Councilor Francie Molloy said.
"Huge efforts are being made at grass roots level in the town to stamp out drug related and alcohol fueled crime," the councilor said.
Molloy asked consular officials working with foreign nationals to take a more active role in advising immigrants of their rights and social responsibilities in their new "adopted homeland."
The PSNI said a definitive motive for the gun attack has not been established. Acting Inspector Wesley McCraken said an anti-social behavioral element was among the many lines of enquiry being investigated.
Though some believe that this was a racist attack, it is not a universally held view.
"I don't believe that this was a racist attack," said PSNI officer James Brannigan.
"Generally speaking, republican areas are quite tolerant of other nationalities settling. Normally any issues involving the Lithuanian community here have occurred within that [Lithuanian] community," he said.
This is the second assault on members of the Lithuanian community in County Tyrone in as many months. Four Lithuanian guest workers were forced to leave their home after a petrol bomb was thrown through their front window on April 20.
The victims of the petrol bomb attack have all left Cookstown, where the firebombing took place.
"We don't feel welcome here," one of the men told The Baltic Times.
No arrests have been made. Authorities made assurances, however, that these cases will remain open in an attempt to deter those behind the violence.
"The police have ensured me that even if we don't apprehend anyone in one month, six months [or] three years these racial cases will remain open," said Councilor Tony Quinn. Brannigan does not believe that the two attacks are related.
"We do not think that the two incidents are related in anyway. We are not treating this as racially motivated. It is more probable that this is a case of mistaken identity," he said.