19 March 2006

Rogue UVF trio 'were behind taxi death bid'

Sunday Life
19 March 2006

Three 'rebel' UVF men in west Belfast are now being blamed for putting a gun to the head of a Catholic taxi driver two weeks ago.

Loyalist sources say suspicion has now fallen on the trio despite initial blame being placed on other loyalist groups.

The finger is being pointed at a club manager and the son of a senior UVF member. "These two and their cronies have been spouting to their mates that they're not accepting the 'stand down' agenda and don't care what the leadership says," one loyalist told Sunday Life.

"They made up this story that Protestant taxi drivers were being harassed in nationalist areas and went out and hijacked a Catholic driver and threatened to kill him.

"Then they claimed it was the Red Hand Defenders and that put the blame on the UDA but it wasn't them or the LVF."

For the last number of weeks senior UVF figures have been meeting members of the terrorist organisation in their own areas around the province, telling them that their roles as terrorists have ended. The UVF is expected to make a formal public statement announcing its disbandment during the summer.

But some in its ranks are angry at the move. Said one Shankill loyalist: "There aren't many of them who are expressing opposition but there are some and there's a little group in the Shankill who think they can cause a few problems and believe they can defy the leadership.

"They're nothing more than ceasefire soldiers but they are capable of causing a bit of disruption."

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