UDA upsurge continues

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The UDA shot a man in Coleraine, planted three pipe bombs in a nearby village and threatened to kill a journalist this week amid an ongoing crime spree by the unionist paramilitary organisation and its drug-dealing gangs.

Shots were fired through a door in Coleraine, County Derry in an attack linked to escalating violence in the predominately unionist area. It came as two men were arrested over the shooting by the same organisation of a 61-year-old women in her home in the town last month. Grandmother Sally Cummings sustained a wound to her head after her son came under threat from the UDA.

In the latest gun attack linked to the North Antrim UDA, a house in the Churchlands Road of the town came under fire. Shots were fired through the front door and struck a man in the head after he failed to open it. The family of the victim, Paul Fleming, have said he was targeted only because he is a Catholic and a Celtic FC supporter. He is understood to be in critical condition in hospital.

The same organisation has also been linked to three pipe bombs planted in the nearby village of Dervock, forcing the evacuation of several homes.

Sinn Féin assembly member Philip McGuigan described the pipe bombs as “an attack on the entire community”. He said there had been a number of other such incidents and attacks “which bear all the hallmarks of the involvement of loyalist criminal gangs”.

Meanwhile, a threat by the South East Antrim UDA against a journalist working for the Belfast Telegraph has been widely condemned. It also threatened journalists earlier this year following their murder of Carrickfergus man Glenn Quinn – a terminally ill 47-year-old who was beaten to death in his home in January.

The National Union of Journalists said the latest threat would not deter journalists in the North from their work, and said the journalist in question had been threatened “simply for doing their job”.

“Earlier this year the NUJ, media organisations, political parties, trade union groups and a cross section of business and community groups united in support of reporters under threat from so called paramilitary groups.

“Our clear message today is the same as then: Threats and intimidation have no place in Northern Ireland and journalists will not buckle in the face of these tactics.”

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