10 December 1998 Edition
Death squad has South African weapons
Weapons brought into Ireland from South Africa by British Intelligence for use by loyalist death squads have resurfaced in the hands of the Red Hand Defenders and the Orange Volunteers.
The RUC, during their investigations into the murder of Ardoyne Catholic Brian Service by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD) have uncovered a cache of loyalist weapons which were part of the `Ulster Resistance' shipment from South Africa in 1987.
Last week the Orange Volunteers - the group which claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on nationalist bars and businesses, in support of the Orange Order at Drumcree, and promised to ``assassinate the enemies of Ulster'', including recently released prisoners - held a show of force at which they displayed a portion of their armoury. Significant in this arsenal were Russian made grenades which are from the same cache of weapons as was discovered by the RUC on the Woodvale Road.
The weapons were uncovered at a mission hall where Pastor Clifford Peebles, an active member of the Justice for Protestants group (JFP), is the keyholder.
Justice for Protestants has been behind numerous marches and protests in support of the Drumcree Orangemen.
Larne DUP councillor Jack McKee was at one stage a spokesman for the JFP group but soon distanced himself from them when he feared that it might be ``going down the road of dual membership''. RUC investigations into the RHD has focused on the activities of a Protestant action group. Peebles, however, has reacted angrily to suggestions that the JFP group is linked to the RHD and the Orange Volunteers.
Loyalists still targetting nationalists
Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley has urged nationalists to be on their guard from loyalist attacks after an incident in West Belfast when well known loyalist paramilitaries were seen taking photos at the home of a well known republican.
The loyalists were spotted on two separate occasions over the past week observing the home of senior republican Sean Murray and checking door numbers in the area. The loyalists sped off when they were challenged by neighbours of Mr Murray.
The neighbours saw the loyalists with a camera, taking photos, and challenged them.
In a separate incident loyalists were spotted in the Andersonstown area of West Belfast observing the home of another well known republican.
Meanwhile, in Derry, Sinn Fein councillor Peter Anderson has received a number of complaints that the RUC have been taking note of registration numbers and details of the occupants of vehicles outside the DHSS offices on Asylum Road.
``The RUC involved are notorious for their harassment and intimidation of the nationalist community in the town,'' Mr Anderson said.
Loyalist remanded amid decommissioning mystery
Mark `Swinger' Fulton, a close associate of dead LVF leader Billy Wright, was remanded in custody after appearing at a special court in Craigavon charged with being in possession of a semi-automatic pistol with intent to endanger the life of a man in Portadown.
Fulton, himself from Portadown, was also charged with having a loaded magazine and ammunition with intent to endanger life. His bail hearing on Tuesday was ended in mysterious circumstances and on Wednesday the British government announced that a ``movement certificate'' which had been issued to the LVF had been withdrawn. The certificate gave immunity to LVF members who were in the process of decommissioning weapons. The certificate specified that the weapons had to be unloaded.