Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Friday, 2 November 2007

UDA faction 'weapons destroyed'

UDA gunman
Guns belonging to the faction have been destroyed

Loyalist weapons have been destroyed in a move overseen by the international decommissioning body.

A small number of guns were handed over by members of the South East Antrim faction of the Ulster Defence Association.

However, many of the faction's members were not told it was happening.

The move was not sanctioned by the UDA's inner council and is therefore not being viewed as a beginning of a process of decommissioning.

According to BBC Newsline's Chris Buckler, a small number of weapons were destroyed at the Ballykinlar Army base in County Down on Saturday.

"Members of the South East Antrim faction of the UDA were present, however, many of its membership were not consulted and it is understood some are deeply unhappy about it.

"Some have even described the minor act of decommissioning as "treason," he said.

The South East Antrim faction broke away from the rest of the UDA some months ago and the two sides have been feuding since then.

The UDA's inner council is expected to meet to discuss the issue in a matter of days.

"It is clear, however, that this is not being viewed as the start of UDA decommissioning and what was destroyed accounts for only a small number of the South East Antrim faction's weapons," said Chris Buckler.

A spokesman for the grouping told the BBC on Friday that the story "had been manufactured by people intent on causing division".

In October, the mainstream UDA indicated it would not be pressurised into decommissioning.

Decommissioning of paramilitary weapons is overseen by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

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Chris Buckler reports from Ballykinlar

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