What UDA ceasefire..?

AS the Secretary of State gears up to declare that he recognises the UDA ceasefire, it seems the most likely suspect in the shooting of Stephen McEntee two nights ago was… the UDA. Earlier in the week, the car belonging to a family member of murdered UDA member Alan McCullough (killed by the UDA) was attacked, probably by UDA members. All speculation of course.The November 4 Independent Monitoring Commission report stated the following:

3.14 We said in our previous report that despite the so-called “cessation of military activity” the UDA had not decommissioned any weapons and remained involved in violence; it was responsible for half of the paramilitary murders committed between January 2003 and February 2004 and continued to be responsible for shootings, assaults and exiling. It was also heavily engaged in crime, including drugs and its feuds associated with criminal activity had contributed considerably to violence in Northern Ireland. We believed that these activities were known to the members of the UDA Inner Council.

3.15 Over the six months covered by this report the UDA has remained active. Though it has not been responsible for any murders it did undertake shootings and assaults. In August members of the UDA are believed to have undertaken a vicious sectarian attack against 3 Catholic men. Senior UDA members restated their intentions of holding to the terms of the 1994 loyalist ceasefire, and there is no evidence to suggest the organisation currently wants to engage in feuding with other loyalist groups. We believe the organisation planned to avoid disorder over the marching season. It nevertheless took preparatory steps, both to defend areas over that time and to identify rival loyalists should there be a feud in the future. We also believe that the UDA has not so far agreed to the free return to Northern Ireland of any of those it has exiled. The UDA remains heavily involved in many kinds of organised crime, and remains an active organisation capable of more widespread violence, with the will to commit it if judged appropriate.

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And if the UDA really does get £3 million to set up a ‘security company’, Securicor should definitely be worried – not from the competition, but money invested in weapons should make it easier for the UDA to rob more Securicor vans.