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UDP leader Gary McMichael
Machiavellian political motives may be behind attempt to re-ignite violence
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The BBC's Denis Murray in Belfast
"Are the ceasefires of the main paramilitary groups holding?"
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BBC NI chief security correspondent Brian Rowan:
"The chief constable has said he suspects republicans carried out Mr Kell's murder"
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BBC Radio Ulster's Tim Jenkins
The family of Gary Moore are shocked following his murder
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PUP Assembly member David Ervine asks:
"What are these killings for? How do they serve Ulster or Ireland?"
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Friday, 8 December, 2000, 10:44 GMT
Killings attempt to 're-ignite conflict'
Police at the scene in Heskith Street
Trevor Kell was shot dead as he sat in his taxi awaiting a fare
Ulster Democratic Party leader Gary McMichael has appealed to loyalist paramilitaries not to allow themselves to be drawn further into efforts to re-ignite sectarian violence.

Mr McMichael said he believed the latest spate of killings had been caused by alleged involvment by republicans in the murder of Protestant taxi driver Trevor Kell on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old father of three was shot dead as he sat in his taxi on the Heskith Road in north Belfast.

His funeral is to take place on Saturday. The Kell family have asked the media to stay away.

In the aftermath of Mr Kell's murder, a Catholic man was killed by two gun men as he worked on a building site in a north Belfast suburb and another Catholic man was critically injured in a shooting incident close to where Mr Kell was killed.

UDP leader Gary McMichael
Gary McMichael: Violence only serves agenda of loyalists' enemies
Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Mr McMichael condemned the latest violence, describing it as extremely disturbing.

Mr McMichael's Ulster Democratic Party is linked to the outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters and Ulster Defence Association.

Referring to the allegation by RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan that he believed republicans were responsible for Mr Kell's murder, he said there appeared to be "some kind of Machiavellian scheme republican scheme under way from republican sources to try and draw out, in fact, instigate a spiral of sectarian violence".

"Obviously there is a political motive to this to create instability and to try and reignite the conflict in some way.

"I think if loyalists take the bait in that sense, then they are following an agenda set by their enemies and that does not make any sense to me."

On Thursday, Sir Ronnie said he believed both republican and loyalist paramilitaries carried out the latest shootings.

I have no doubt that the two shootings yesterday (Wednesday) were carried out by loyalists who believed that republicans were responsible for the murder the previous evening

Sir Ronnie Flanagan
Speaking on BBC's Hearts & Minds programme, he said he believed republicans killed Mr Kell but added he was not sure whether a formalised group or freelance paramilitary was involved.

He also said he believed loyalist paramilitaries murdered Catholic building contractor Gary Moore in Monkstown, Newtownabbey, on Wednesday night and critically injured Catholic Paul Scullion in north Belfast, just minutes later.

Sir Ronnie said: "I have no doubt that the two shootings yesterday (Wednesday) were carried out by loyalists who believed that republicans were responsible for the murder the previous evening.

"It is too soon to be absolutely specific as to which faction of loyalism is responsible.

"In relation to the first murder of Mr Kell, while we believe that to have been carried out by republicans, again it is too soon to say whether any of the formalised republican terrorist groups were involved, or whether it was the work of a renegade or freelancer."

Earlier on Thursday, loyalist sources told the BBC they suspected that the Ulster Defence Association was involved in the shootings of Mr Moore and Mr Scullion.

Mr Flanagan said that it was too early to speculate, but that this was "a distinct possibility".

Gerry Kelly: Chief constable's comments will generate more fear among Catholics
Reacting to Sir Ronnie's comments, Sinn Fein assembly member for north Belfast, Gerry Kelly, said it was "unfortunate" that the chief constable was not specific about which republican group he believed was responsible for the murder of Trevor Kell.

He added: "What worries me greatly is that after the finger pointing of yesterday, two Catholics were shot. People in north Belfast are very worried about this and will be even more worried now that Ronnie Flanagan has said this."

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams earlier blamed loyalist paramilitaries for all three murders.

David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, which has links with the Ulster Volunteer Force, welcomed Sir Ronnie's comments.

He said those responsible for the shootings attacks were trying to destroy the current opportunity for peace.

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See also:

07 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
'End killing' church leaders appeal
07 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Real IRA denies taxi murder
06 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Belfast murder 'not feud related'
07 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Calls for calm after shootings
17 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Loyalist feud truce hopes
07 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Father appeals for end to killing
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