21 July 2005

Ceasefire watchdog to probe feud

BBC


The UVF has been linked to a number of attacks

The feud between the UVF and LVF is to be examined by the body that oversees the ceasefires of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groupings.

The Independent Monitoring Commission has told the two governments the murders resulting from the feud will be a particular focus of inquiry for it.

It comes as loyalist sources link the UVF to a gun attack in east Belfast.

Shots were fired into a house at Avonorr Drive in the lower Newtownards Road area.

A man, who is in his 30s, escaped injury when bullets came through the bathroom window of his house.

Police said they are treating the shooting as attempted murder.

A car was found burnt out nearby in Bendigo Street about an hour later.

East Belfast assembly member Robin Newton said paramilitaries "who pretend to represent the people," should be listening to what they are saying.

"They are saying, they don't want violence on their streets.

"They are concerned about the welfare of the children, they are concerned about the welfare of the elderly," he said.

A police spokesperson said they were keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack, but it is understood one line of inquiry is that it is linked to the loyalist feud.

Tensions

The incident comes two days after shots were fired at a house in the Sydenham area of east Belfast, in an attack also linked to a row between the Ulster Volunteer Force and Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Escalating tensions between the loyalist paramilitary groupings has already claimed the lives of two men.

Craig McCausland, 20, was shot by the UVF at his girlfriend's house in north Belfast last week - he later died in hospital.

The UVF believed he was a member of the rival LVF, but his family have strongly denied he had links to any paramilitary group.

Earlier this month, Jameson Lockhart, also from north Belfast, was shot as he sat in a lorry in east Belfast.

The UVF was also linked to that killing.

The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up by the British and Irish Governments in 2004.

Its role is to report on activity by paramilitary groups; the normalisation of security measures and on claims by assembly parties that other parties, or ministers in a devolved executive, are not living up to the standards required of them.

It can recommend that the government impose sanctions on those it feels are not fulfilling their role.

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