Loyalists kill, maim, burn, bomb
A third man has been murdered in Belfast in the latest upsurge
in the feud between unionist paramilitary groups as a wave of
sectarian attacks continues.
Stephen Paul, who is reported to have connections with the small
Loyalist Volunteer Force, was shot dead on Saturday in north
Belfast by the larger Ulster Volunteer Force. Another man was
injured in the incident, but he is not thought to be in danger.
He had survived a previous attempt on his life in 1999 when he
was seriously injured. His uncle, William Paul, was also shot
dead in 1998, in Bangor. He, like his nephew, is understood to
have been involved in drug dealing.
The latest murder victim had a substantial criminal record and
had served jail terms for serious assaults on his partner.
British Secretary of State Peter Hain denounced the latest
killing as "gangsterism masquerading as loyalism".
He said yesterday he believed the unionist groups were "not
planning an equivalent statement [to the IRA]". He told Irish
television: "But I think they ought to because some of the
things that have been happening in unionist and loyalist
communities really are an outrage. They are intolerable.
"I think it's now up to the loyalist groups, especially the
Ulster Volunteer Force, to do, with the drift of history and the
inevitable future that they face, and comply with disarming, and
shutting down their activities and stop this tit-for-tat grisly
murder feud that is going on all the time."
Progressive Unionist leader David Ervine has already stressed
that his party, which has UVF links, is powerless to intervene
because it has "no influence whatsoever" over those directly
The latest murder follows a week of rising tension over the turf
war between rival unionist gangs, including a British-backed
mass eviction of LVF supporters in east Belfast.
Watched over by British troops and police, several hundred men
and teenagers took to the streets of the area to ensure that LVF
associates evicted from their homes did not return.
Nationalists fear the unionist feud is spiralling out of control
and could result in a further increase in sectarian attacks on
Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey yesterday said the UVF
was ignoring requests to negotiate an end to the current feud.
"This was another appalling murder. But it has appeared for some
time the UVF will not be budged. They see a certain parallel on
what they are engaged in now and what the UDA did with Johnny
Adair's faction in 2003. Their view is: 'Let's get them out of
"I and others have appealed for mediation, and I know there have
been attempts at that but those initial contacts have had a
negative response from the UVF," said the Belfast East assembly
Mr Empey said the days of gunmen on the streets and of masked
gangs driving people out of housing estates in the North had to
"The irony is, at a time when republicans are ostensibly making
moves towards disarmament, the loyalists are using weapons in a
feud," he said.
"They must realise the irony in that and how that must make them
look. We know after all these years that going around murdering
people does not build the society that we all aspire to live
An attack in Ballymena in which a device exploded at the home of
a couple and their three children is thought to be linked to the
loyalist feud. The couple and their three sons escaped without
injury when the device went off at about 4am on Monday morning.
A Catholic woman and her son escaped with their lives after an
arson attack on their County Antrim home on Monday.
Oonagh Doherty and her 25-year-old son Mark were forced to flee
their burning home in the predominately unionist village of
Ahoghill after a window in their home was broken and flammable
liquid poured in and set alight.
Last month, Mrs Doherty's aunt Kathleen McCaughey quit the
Ahoghill home where she had lived for more than 50 years after a
series of sectarian attacks carried out over several years.
In north Belfast, a Catholic man almost lost two fingers in a
loyalist machete attack. The attack occured in the Ardoyne area
in the early hours of the morning.
Two men and one woman emerged from the car before attacking the
local man with machetes.
Catholic homes in an interface area of north Belfast were also
attacked with breeze blocks and lumps of concrete attack by
The attackers gained entry to Hillview Enterprise Park, an
industrial estate off the Crumlin Road, and climbed ladders to
throw the missiles at homes in Antigua Street.
Six houses were struck during the terrifying attack, with
gutters, roofs and gardens damaged.
In Ballymena, another Catholic church has been paint-bombed. The
Immaculate Conception church on Cullybackey's Ballymena Road was
discovered damaged over the weekend.
Wwhite paint was found on Saturday afternoon but it is thought
the attack may have been caused at any time over the previous