UVF MURDER COULD IGNITE FEUD
Another murderous unionist paramilitary feud seems possible after
a 34-year-old man was shot dead in east Belfast yesterday
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gunned down Brian Stewart, of
the breakway Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) as he sat in his car
in an industrial estate.
They fired about five shots at him at close range. He died at
Sources close to the LVF last night said that Mr Stewart was not
a high-ranking member of the LVF although other loyalist sources
described him as an "LVF commander". ind who did this."
Tensions between the UVF and LVF have been constant since
Mid-Ulster UVF leader Billy Wright was stood down by the
organisation in 1996 and formed the LVF. They regularly flared
in serious blood-letting.
This latest incident follows from a number of recent shootings
in Belfast and reports that a number of UVF members had been
warned by the police that they were under threat from the LVF.
The murder was also linked to serious violence which erupted
during the Irish Cup final at Windsor Park earlier this month.
Yesterday's murder was the third in six months linked to the
There are fears that the UVF is abandoning a potential political
direction following a poor performance in November's Assembly
election by its associated political party, the Progressive
Unionist Party (PUP). Financial sanctions recently imposed on
the PUP by the Independent Monitoring Commission recently also
infuriated the party, which has declined to comment on the
Tensions between the LVF and the two larger loyalist
paramilitary groups, the UVF and UDA, had reportedly been
simmering in recent months. The LVF has previously been
associated with the breakaway UDA grouping associated with
Belfast maverick Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair. That group was largely
forced into exile by a UDA purge on the Shankill Road last year.
Sinn Fein councillor Joe O'Donnell said nationalists and
unionists living in east Belfast would be concerned by
"People in east Belfast generally will be nervous that this
killing will mark the beginning of yet another period of
internecine loyalist feuding," he said.
"Nationalists in the area will be concerned that this sort of
internal loyalist feuding will eventually lead to attacks on the
local nationalist population, particularly as we approach the
summer marching season."
* Unionists have been blamed for a number of stoning attacks on
Catholic homes in Portadown, Co Armagh yesterday.
A group congregating near a loyalist bonfire at Edgarstown,
close to the so-called 'peaceline' in the town, had targeted
Catholic homes in the nationalist 'Tunnel' district.
John O'Dowd said he believed that "sinister forces" were to
blame for incidents in the Obins Drive and Obins Avenue area and
were attempting to increase tensions.