BACK TO THE FEUDING
A feud-related murder by the unionist paramilitary UVF in
Belfast could lead to "a bloody summer of tit-for-tat killings",
according to the Ulster Unionist Party.
Jameson Lockhart, understood to have links to the LVF, was
gunned down last Friday in his lorry outside a bar in east
The 25-year-old may have been killed because he was due to give
evidence in an attempted murder case.
Mr Lockhart and another man were sitting in a lorry outside the
bar on the Newtownards Road when a gunman approached and opened
The other man managed to jump out and run off and Mr Lockhart
got the lorry moving before crashing into a lamp-post beside a
loyalist mural. The gunman moved in again and opened fire,
The victim had escaped injury in a shooting earlier this year
and gave a statement to PSNI police identifying a man as one of
the gunmen. The suspect was charged with attempted murder and
was later released on bail.
Mr Lockhart's murder, which has been blamed on the UVF, comes
amid ongoing tensions between the two rival loyalist
paramilitary groups in Belfast, County Down and Antrim town.
The LVF ('Loyalist Volunteer Force') broke away from the UVF
('Unionist Volunteer Force') in 1996 under the notorious
leadership of 'King Rat' Billy Wright.
Tensions between the two groups erupted in 2003 following the
UVF murder of LVF man Brian Stewart, also in east Belfast. It
led to a spate of revenge bomb attacks and shootings.
Earlier this year tensions boiled over again following a series
of attacks on taxi firms. Only weeks ago there was mayhem in a
Belfast court when the rival loyalist gangs clashed.
Hundreds of UVF members are said to be planning to gather on
west Belfast's Shankill Road this weekend for a show of strength
aimed at finally intimidating the LVF out of the city.
Since the Lockhart murder, LVF figures in the group's east
Belfast and Ballysillan strongholds have reportedly "gone to
ground". Some have suggested the LVF could use marches by the
Protestant orders as a cover for a revenge attack.
Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey said he "feared a bloody summer
of tit-for-tat killings".
He said: "I know that various loyalists are running for cover.
This man's movements had clearly been tracked, this was a
planned attack, a carefully planned assassination."
David Ervine's Progressive Unionist Party, which represents the
UVF politically, has not commented on the murder.
Meanwhile, rival factions within the UDA, the North's largest
and most combustible unionist paramilitary group, appeared ready
to resume hostilies.
A confrontation between rival UDA gangs took place in south
Belfast after bars were attacked in the south and north of the
The tensions have been linked to an attack on a north Belfast
UDA member at the weekend.
Yesterday afternoon north Belfast UDA 'brigadier' Andre Shoukri
and up to 100 supporters descended on Sandy Row where they were
confronted by around 100 UDA men from south Belfast.
After talks with rival UDA leader Jackie McDonald Shoukri's
supporters eventually left the area, but concerns remain of