4 November 1999 Edition

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Loyalists held over Finucane murder

By Laura Friel

Three loyalists in the Shankill area of Belfast were arrested on Wednesday morning by London Metropolitan detectives, members of the Stevens' team investigating the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989. The three men were arrested in dawn raids and taken to Gough Barracks for questioning.

A spokesperson for the UDP, a UDA-linked party, John White, condemned the arrests as ``merely to placate republicanism.'' White has lodged a formal complaint with the RUC and described the arrests as part of an ``ongoing campaign of police harassment against loyalists.

In a separate case, twin brothers have appeared in Antrim court charged with conspiracy to murder. A third man was charged with conspiracy and with membership of the Orange Volunteer Force.

Paul Arthur and Mervyn John Armstrong, both university students from Islandreagh, Dunadry, were also charged with possession of a VZ58 assault rifle and ammunition. Paul Armstrong is also charged with the possession of documents which contained details of nationalists living in the Belfast and Armagh area.

Stuart Alexander Wilson from Gelnavy became the second man ever to be charged with membership of the OVF.

Meanwhile two caches of pipe bombs were discovered. On Tuesday night, 2 November, explosive devices were discovered in hedgerows in the Mourneview area of Lurgan, Co. Armagh. A second haul was uncovered in Stoneyford Orange hall, near Antrim.

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