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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Efforts to end loyalist feud
Loaded guns were seized in the Ballybeen estate
Loaded guns were seized in the Ballybeen estate

Efforts are continuing in the background to try to end the feuding among loyalist paramilitaries in east Belfast.

On Wednesday, sources told the BBC that the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had made a private offer to suspend attacks.

However, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was not prepared to do likewise.

The LVF's offer to suspend attacks was delivered to the UVF by a Protestant minister.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said: "According to a source, that suspension of activity would have begun at noon today (Wednesday) - but would not have been publicly announced.

Until the LVF have full control of their organisation - it's hard for us to take at face value
Senior UVF source

"The move was designed to help a process of mediation. The aim of any talks would be to try to bring about a permanent end to the feuding between the two loyalist organisations.

"And sources say if that was achieved the LVF would issue a public statement admitting that members of its organisation had sparked the latest feuding between the groups and that those members would be disciplined."

According to a senior source, the UVF position at this stage is unchanged.

It is not prepared to talk directly to the LVF and has not suspended what the source called its "military operations".

The source said: "Until the LVF have full control of their organisation - it's hard for us to take at face value."

'Potential to get worse'

Meanwhile, police have recovered a number of loaded weapons in Longstone Drive in the Ballybeen Estate in Dundonald on the outskirts of east Belfast.

Police said they believed the weapons were attributable to loyalist paramilitaries.

It is believed it may also be linked with the feud between the LVF and the UVF.

Detectives said the find was significant.

Since the murder of the LVF member Brian Stewart a little over a week ago, there have been seven other incidents.

The bulk of these have been linked to the UVF, but two attacks on Tuesday were carried out by the smaller LVF.

In the first, a bomb was thrown at a house in Holywood in County Down and in the second, a man was attacked at Templemore Avenue in east Belfast.

On Tuesday, Chief Constable Hugh Orde said the feud had the potential to get worse.

The chief constable held talks with the Security Minister, Ian Pearson, and the Northern Ireland Secretary, Paul Murphy, on Tuesday to discuss the violence.

Scores of police and soldiers have been drafted in to deal with the trouble.

Loyalist feud 'could escalate'
25 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
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24 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
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23 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Bomb was 'substantial device'
22 May 04  |  Northern Ireland

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