06 March 2006

Loyalists issue new threat


by Ciaran Barnes

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLoyalist paramilitaries have said they are now actively targeting all republican ex-prisoners.

A caller last night to the Andersonstown News’ sister paper, Daily Ireland, said that as of midnight all republican ex-prisoners are considered legitimate targets.

The man, who claimed to represent the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), used a recognised codeword, used in the past by the organisation.

The RHD name has been used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) to claim murders.

The caller said the RHD was responsible for a murder bid on a North Belfast taxi driver on Saturday night.

The taxi driver, who works for a firm in the New Lodge area, picked up a fare close to the Mater Hospital.

Four men got into his cab and asked to be brought to Ligoniel.

As they passed McKenna’s bar on the Crumlin Road one of the men pointed a gun at the driver’s head.

The weapon jammed and after a struggle the cabbie managed to escape.
His would-be killers ran off in the direction of Ballysillan.

Saturday’s murder bid came 48 hours after a PSNI raid on the Alexandra bar in Tiger’s Bay in North Belfast.

The PSNI arrested 17 people in an operation it said was directed against he UDA.

Eleven of those arrested are to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today to face paramilitary charges.

Following the arrests Sinn Féin warned that the UDA would target nationalists.

In recent years the RHC has murdered Gavin Lawlor, Danny McColgan, Gavin Brett and Brian Service. The men, who were all Catholics, were targeted randomly.

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

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