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Friday, 25 February, 2000, 23:55 GMT
UFF demands end to loyalist feuding

Forensic officers at the murder scene
Weekend murders: Loyalist feud link not ruled out


A loyalist terror group has said that Protestant paramilitaries should stop killing members of their own community.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters said it was ironic "while such effort and determination has been spent in the past five years to remove conflict, the greatest threat to the Protestant community now comes from within".

The statement, issued in Belfast, is said to be aimed at the Ulster Volunteer Force.

It came almost a week after the murders of two Portadown teenagers, Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine, found stabbed to death near Tandragee, Co Armagh last Saturday.

Neither was a member of a paramilitary group, although Mr Robb was an associate of murdered Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright, and UFF leader Johnny Adair attended his funeral.

David McIlwaine's father, Paul, stressed that his son had not been a friend of Mr Robb's but had met him by chance the night they were killed.

New graffitti indicates local suspicion about loyalist feud Graffitti indicates suspicion about loyalist feud
Detectives are questioning a number of people about the murders and police have not ruled out the possibility that the pair were killed by loyalists as part of a feud between the LVF and the rival Ulster Volunteer Force.

UVF Portadown commander Richard Jameson was shot dead outside his home last month.

Friday's statement from the UFF said there was growing resentment throughout the community that since the 1994 ceasefires, the majority of violent deaths of Protestants had been carried out, not by republicans, but by other loyalists.

"As the largest loyalist organisation we feel a responsibility to highlight the damage internecine violence has done to the Protestant and loyalist community," it said.

"It is not acceptable and we speak not only for ourselves when we say that this violence must stop.

"It is ironic that while such effort and determination has been spent in the past five years to remove conflict, the greatest threat to the Protestant community now comes from within."

John White, chairman of the Ulster Democratic Party, which has close links with the UFF, welcomed the statement, saying it reflected public concern.

"We have seen the results of this destructive internal violence recently in mid-Ulster but these are only the latest in a long line of such acts.

"Since the ceasefires there have been more than a dozen murders. It is positive that the UFF has taken a leadership role and is calling for these killings to stop.

"I echo this call and appeal to those responsible to recognise the damage being done to their own community."

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See also:
11 Jan 00 |  Northern Ireland
Murder as loyalist feud boils over
19 Feb 00 |  Northern Ireland
Murder victims 'had no terror links'
13 Jan 00 |  Northern Ireland
'No revenge' plea as UVF man buried
23 Feb 00 |  Northern Ireland
Murder victims 'met by chance'

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