The PSNI police has been covering up a series of unionist paramilitary arms discoveries -- according to the UDA themselves.
In a highly unusual move, the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) challenged the PSNI to explain why they have failed to publicise weapons seizures in north Belfast in recent weeks.
The UPRG’s challenge comes despite the fact that the weapons recovered by officers belonged to the UDA.
The PSNI is said to have recovered at least four rifles, two handguns, ammunition and explosives during searches of the Westland estate.
However, loyalists say they are “mystified” as to why the force has not publicised the arms finds.
Republicans believe the discoveries have been kept quiet in order to maintain nationalist support for the peace process and the disbandment of the IRA.
The PSNI searches followed an internal UDA feud when supporters of leading north Belfast loyalists Andre and Ihab Shoukri fled the estate after hundreds of ‘mainstream’ UDA men marched on the area four weeks ago.
At the time Protestant clergyman Brian Madden said he had witnessed Shoukri supporters brandishing rifles and handguns in the area as police held the mainstream UDA at bay.
“I saw machine guns on people’s shoulders and handguns,” he said.
“I was taken into a house, talking to people who were pointing guns, swinging guns. They were very, very angry.”
Despite searches on the estate immediately after Shoukri supporters had fled police said only one weapon had been recovered.
However, a UPRG spokesman last night challenged this figure.
“We know from Pastor Brian Madden that this gang was heavily armed,” he said.
“The PSNI is saying it only recovered one weapon. However, we know they actually recovered at least six weapons, ammunition and explosives.
“If the PSNI have recovered these weapons why haven’t they said so? Are they trying to cover something up?
Meanwhile, a bomb planted by the unionist paramilitary UVF to kill the entire Sinn Féin leadership at a 1981 conference in Dublin has never been found, according to an interview with a top UVF figure today.
The Mansion House, residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor, was searched today after the UVF man said the bomb planted there 25 years ago may still be in the building.
Lord Mayor Vincent Jackson, his wife Veronica, and their staff left the building last night and a search began at 9am. In 1981, Sinn Féin held its annual conference [Ard Fheis] in the building.
The bomb was placed inside a fire extinguisher, according to a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in this morning’s Belfast Telegraph. He said he did not know why it never exploded.