A feud between two rival unionist paramilitary groups in the North appears to be over following a statement by the Loyalist Volunteer Force that it was moving to prevent further attacks against the rival UVF.
The recent murder of LVF member Brian Stewart in east Belfast was followed by a series of bomb attacks in loyalist areas following the murder.
In its statement, the LVF said no more loyalists should die at the hands of other loyalists. It also called for mechanisms to be put in place to prevent feuding.
The group also committed itself to “disarm and disband those who sparked the latest in fighting.”
The feud between the two loyalist groups had been escalating for several months before it erupted in violence two weeks ago. The LVF was blamed for attacking rival loyalists during the a local soccer cup final on May 1.
East Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Joe O’Donnell said he hoped that the statement from the LVF would mark an end to all unionist paramilitary violence.
“Obviously if this statement does mark the end of the latest loyalist feud then that is to be welcomed. East Belfast has been on a knife-edge for the past two weeks. However in the past loyalist feuds have ended with attacks on nationalists and Catholics. I hope that this pattern will not be repeated on this occasion.
“Now that this feud is over all of us in political and community leadership in the city need to get back to the job of ensuring a peaceful summer for families living in interface areas. There is no point in ending one type of violent unionist activity to see it replaced by another.”
* Unionist paramilitaries were blamed for a gun attack on a house in Derry which left a woman showered with glass in an apparent continuation of a separate loyalist ‘turf war’ in the area. PSNI police said they were treating the shooting in the Waterside area of the city as attempted murder.