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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Murder 'may be linked to feud'
Police forensics staff at the murder scene
The murder of a 42-year-old man in south Belfast may have been linked to a loyalist feud, police have said.

Michael Green was shot at close range by two gunmen as he arrived for work at a furniture shop in Sandy Row.

Three other murders in recent months have been linked to the feud between two loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Detective Superintendent George Hamilton said the feud link was "a positive line of enquiry".

The police have defended their response to the feud and pointed out that they have carried out 90 searches and made 20 arrests.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) has blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) for the killing, but an LVF source has denied Mr Green was one of its members.

The victim, who lived at Ballysillan Avenue, was shot as he got off a motorbike outside his workplace at 0815 BST.

The emergency services arrived within minutes but he died at the scene.

Close range

Mr Hamilton said the father of three was shot at close range by two gunmen who approached from behind as he arrived for work in Sandy Row.

He defended the PSNI's response to the feud, and described the searches and arrests as a "proactive policing response".

NIO minister Jeff Rooker condemned the murder as "callous and cold-blooded".

"This horrific murder brings nothing but pain and grief to yet another family," he said.

"There is no place for gangsterism in the loyalist community or anywhere else and only the rule of law can bring stability to communities that have already suffered so much."

Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey also said the killing appeared to be linked to a loyalist feud.

He described the murder as "barbaric and abhorrent".

"Everybody in the area is disgusted by this. It's disgraceful," he said.

"It has had the trappings of a loyalist feud and we have seen over the summer the police apparently being unwilling or unable to intervene in this feud and we have seen matters basically spiralling out of control."

This madness has to stop before it escalates further
Jimmy Spratt
DUP

SDLP South Belfast MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell condemned the shooting.

He said: "There can be no justification for this brutal and cowardly attack.

"It is clear that people intent on endangering lives and livelihoods are at large in the city. It is imperative that anyone who saw anything or who may have any information on this ghastly murder contacts the local PSNI as soon as possible."

Road closed

Democratic Unionist representative Jimmy Spratt urged all sides to pull back.

"This madness has to stop before it escalates further," he said.

The police have launched a murder inquiry and have appealed for information.

Police and forensic scientists are still examining the scene.

The police cordoned off Roden Street, off the Donegall Road, after a car was found but they could not confirm whether it was linked to the murder.

Sandy Row remains closed from Hope Street to the junction of the Donegall Road and motorists are being advised to avoid the area.




SEE ALSO:
Feud killing 'ruthless execution'
12 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Feud will get worse says Ervine
23 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Fresh appeal over loyalist murder
09 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland


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