UVF’s collusion riots

The UVF ‘ceasefire’ is increasingly being viewed as a sham after the unionist paramilitary groups organised two nights of heavy rioting in the Rathcoole area of Belfast in response to an ongoing collusion inquiry.

The first riot erupted within hours of searches connected to historical murders by the Mount Vernon UVF. In 2007, former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan identified the murder gang as being involved in over a dozen killings in collusion with Special Branch police, as recently as 2003.

The PSNI police has admitted the hijacking of vehicles, rioting and general disorder on Monday night and Tuesday night this week was carefully orchestrated by the UVF.

When detectives from the Historical Enquiries Team mounted a series of searches in the estate, the UVF ordered youths and children into the streets to confront them.

UVF gunmen were seen on the streets of the estate, directing the riots. The violence saw the burning of two buses, an assault on a bus driver and the stoning of an ambulance taking a patient to hospital.

Loyalist representatives admitted that UVF men were involved in the rioting.

There have been similar recent outbreaks of violence in other parts of Newtownabbey, at New Mossley and Ballyclare, where PSNI searches have taken place, and it is suspected the UVF is receiving advance warning of the searches from British military intelligence.

Unlike riots in republican areas this summer, the PSNI this week did not use water cannon or special police units to clear the rioters, and no arrests were made.

Elements within the British military, including the so-called ‘Independent Monitoring Commission’, continue to support the UVF -- even defending the cold-blooded UVF murder of Belfast man Bobby Moffett in May of this year.

Moffett was shot dead on the Shankill Road in broad daylight by UVF gunmen as a warning to others in the area not to defy the organisation.

SDLP North Belfast Assembly member Alban Maginness said the involvement of the UVF in rioting is a further blow to the credibility of the British government’s Northern Ireland Office.

“Inexplicably, the NIO gave the UVF a nod and a wink when the IMC said very clearly that the public murder of Bobby Moffett was sanctioned by its leadership,” he said.

“Now we have a very clear message from the police that the UVF is involved in organising the rioting in Rathcoole and that there was a gunman involved in the bus hijacking on Monday evening. What exactly is the value of this so-called ceasefire?” he added.

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