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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
Man shot dead in Belfast
Old Cavehill Road in Belfast
A man was shot at on the Oldpark Road
A man has been shot dead in north Belfast during a night of violence which saw a series of sectarian attacks in the city.

The victim, believed to be Catholic and in his early 20s, was shot near the interface Whitewell Road area where sectarian tensions have been high in recent months.

The victim was walking alone from the Antrim Road towards the Whitewell Road when he was attacked at about midnight on Sunday.

People close by heard four or five shots. The man died at the scene. The police are treating the incident as sectarian.

Superintendent Roy Suitters
Superintendent Roy Suitters: "Catalogue of mayhem" in north Belfast

Police Superintendent Roy Suitters said there was a "catalogue of mayhem in north Belfast" which ended in murder.

"When a 12-year-old at one side of Belfast throws a stone, someone on the other side of Belfast ends up being killed," he said.

He appealed to community leaders in the area to exert their influence to help stop the violence.

The police said the victim was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.


Earlier on Sunday evening, a Protestant teenager was shot and injured in the Glenbryn area of Ardoyne.

The 19-year-old victim was hit when a gunman reportedly fired over the peace line from a Catholic area.

He was taken to the Mater Hospital in north Belfast where a spokeswoman described his condition as "ill but stable".

She said he would need surgery for a groin wound.

Then, a Catholic man was reportedly targeted outside a pub on the Oldpark Road by gunmen in a passing car but their gun jammed.

He was not injured but was taken to hospital suffering from shock.

Another Catholic man was shot in the upper thigh in the nationalist Oldpark area.

There were also reports of shootings on the Old Cavehill Road and the Ligoneil Road.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid
John Reid: Condemned shootings

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid said the shootings in north Belfast and the "vicious murder" of a young Catholic man were "beneath contempt".

"No community grievance or political cause could ever justify this. The murderers must, and will, be brought to justice", he said.

Representatives of both sides have blamed the other for starting the violence after a weekend of tensions in the area.

Mark Coulter, a community representative in the Protestant Glenbryn area, claimed a nationalist gunman had fired a shot across the peace line.

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O'Brin called on unionist politicians to take action.


DUP councillor Nelson McCausland condemned the violence, but also criticised the government's handling of the situation.

"The truth is that paramilitary ceasefires are being broken on a regular basis," he said.

"In particular, the so-called IRA ceasefire and yet Sinn Fein are still sitting in the government of our country."

A large number of people gathered at the top of Alliance Avenue on the Ardoyne Road after the 19-year-old Protestant was shot.

There was a large security force presence in the area, keeping crowds of nationalists and loyalists apart.

The area has been the scene of frequent sectarian clashes in recent months - the nearby Holy Cross School was subjected to a loyalist picket last year.

Ministers are trying to negotiate a new peace wall to be built there.

The BBC's Denis Murray
"The murder came after a weekend of tensions"
SDLP councillor for north Belfast, Patrick Convery
"The peace process is the only way to go forward"
Superintendent Roy Suitters
"It was a night of mayhem"
See also:

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