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The BBC's NI Correspondent Denis Murray reports
"He'd been killed by members of a rival splinter group
 real 28k

BBC NI Chief Security Correspondent Brian Rowan
The murder could be the third the LVF have been linked to since its ceasefire
 real 28k

BBC NI's Jeremy Mitchell
Local politicians fear UVF retaliation
 real 28k

David Ervine, Progressive Unionist Party
"Very shocked and deeply disturbed"
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Assistant Chief Constable Tom Craig
"We are dealing with a callous and cold-blooded murder"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 18:26 GMT
Arrests made after killing

Dissident loyalists have been blamed for the murder Mr Jameson was shot outside his Portadown home

Several people are still being questioned in connection with the murder of a man thought to be a senior member of a loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland.

Royal Ulster Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Tom Craig confirmed that a number of people had been arrested in the mid-Ulster area.

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Dissident loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for the murder of Richard Jameson, 46, who was shot dead outside his home in Portadown, County Armagh on Monday night.

Security sources said he was the leader of the largest loyalist paramilitary grouping, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the Portadown area, a claim denied by the dead man's family.

Mr Jameson's brother Bobby said the victim had worked for both sides of the community.

"There were members from all walks of life appreciated him for all his help," he said.

Mr Craig described the murder as callous but refused to speculate on the victim's alleged links to the UVF or speculation the killing was linked to a feud with loyalist dissidents the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).

He said a "thorough and painstaking murder investigation" was under way.

Tom Craig: Confirmed arrests
"We have done a finger-tip search of the scene and area investigation will cover all potential motives," he said.

Police have also appealed for anyone who saw Mr Jameson driving his car from Thomas Street along the Dungannon Road before arriving at his home at 1830 to contact them. His car has the distinctive registration IIB8.

Mr Jameson was murdered at his home on the Derryletiff Road, about five miles outside Portadown at 1840 GMT on Monday.

It is understood the roofing contractor was shot several times at close range through the window of his jeep as he arrived home.

Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble has said early prisoner releases should be halted if loyalist paramilitaries are linked to the murder.

Mr Trimble, who is also the area's MP, said if dissident loyalists are found to have been involved, the release of their prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement should be suspended.

He said: "There is provision under the legislation for the government to keep the programme of prisoner releases under review and it is possible for them to examine the conduct of the paramilitary organisations to see whether or not they are maintaining a ceasefire.

Richard Jameson was shot at his Portadown home Richard Jameson: Shot dead
"I feel they haven't done it as rigorously as I would have liked and I hope they will pluck up the courage at some time to implement the legislation in the spirit in which is it was enacted."

Mr Trimble visited Mr Jameson's family on Tuesday and afterwards appealed to the community to remain clam and avoid heightening tensions.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson also appealed to everyone to "be calm and listen to the voices of those local politicians who are urging restraint".

He said: "The people of Northern Ireland do not want to see a return to the dark days of this sort of violence."

Dispute between paramilitaries

There has been a bitter dispute between the UVF and the smaller splinter group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), for some time.

Both groups have declared ceasefires and are currently having prisoners let out of the Maze under the early release scheme.

David Trimble: Government should take action if paramilitary link suspected David Trimble: Take action if link suspected
Mr Jameson is believed to have been one of 12 people injured when tension between UVF and LVF supporters erupted into trouble at the end of a football match at Shamrock Park Social Club in Portadown, just after Christmas.

Local Democratic Unionist Party Assemblyman Paul Berry said Mr Jameson had tried to calm the situation in Portadown.

The Mayor of Craigavon, Dolores Kelly, appealed against retaliation.

She said: "I would ask that there is no retaliation, that people think of the benefits to the whole community in terms of the peace dividend and that we redouble our efforts to bring again community cohesion."

'Masquerading loyalists'

David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, which has links to the UVF, believes the murder was carried out by loyalists involved in drug dealing.

David Ervine: Victim was respected in local community David Ervine: Victim was respected in local community
He said: "I think it's probably a disparate loyalist group or a disparate group masquerading as loyalists.

"But essentially they masquerade as loyalists simply to give cover to the nefarious trade of drug dealing."

He described the shooting as an "absolute tragedy" and expressed sympathy to the victim's family.

Mr Ervine said the dead man had been a bulwark in his community against such activities.

He said: "He was an honourable man. Someone who is highly respected within the unionist community has been murdered unceremoniously by those whom he stood against."

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See also:
11 Jan 00 |  Northern Ireland
Murder as loyalist feud boils over
10 Jan 00 |  Northern Ireland
Police hunt loyalist's killer
28 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Loyalist tension blamed for violence

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