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BBC NI's David Morgan reports
Police believe a loyalist paramilitary feud was behind the attack
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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 19:43 GMT 20:43 UK
UVF linked to shooting attempt

RUC men seek clues on Belfast's Oldpark Road
Security sources are linking the loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Volunteer Force, to an attempted shooting in north Belfast.

A man, believed to be in his 20s, was attacked as he walked to a shop in the Oldpark area just before 0800 BST on Wednesday.

As he walked from the store where he regularly shops, two men riding a motorcycle apparently pulled up across the road from him.

It is believed that a gunman then got off the vehicle, crossed the road and fired at his intended victim who was running away.

The man failed to hit his target and then rode off on the motorcycle.

The intended victim is believed to be from Dungannon in County Tyrone and is understood to be living and working in north Belfast.

A motorcycle similar to that believed to have been used by the gunman was later discovered in the mainly loyalist Ballysillan estate. It had been set on fire.

Appeal to loyalists

The police have ruled out a sectarian motive for the attack and are understood to be investigating the theory that it was the result of a loyalist paramilitary feud.

Leader of the Alliance Party, Sean Neeson, called on the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to the UVF, to try to halt any feud.

He said: "Paramilitary ceasefires must be seen to apply to all paramilitary activities.

"Society can not tolerate a situation in which paramilitary groups refrain from attacking the so-called 'other side' but engage in feuding. Murder or attempted murder can never be justified.

"Furthermore those engaging in these activities seem to have no sensitivity of the risks to bystanders.

"It is important that David Ervine and the PUP come out and clearly condemn this and similar incidents."

PUP assembly man Billy Hutchinson appealed for calm after the shooting.

He said it was too soon to speculate on a motive behind the attack.

"There is no feud in north Belfast," he said. "Until I know who the person was that was shot at, and until all of that becomes clear, I'm not sure.

"It's a possibility that it was linked to a feud, if the police were saying it was loyalists. But at his point, we're not sure and I think it is dangerous to speculate."

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See also:

28 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
'End feud' loyalist politician appeals
25 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
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22 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
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16 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
Call on LVF to disband
13 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
'No revenge' plea as UVF man buried
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