08/01/2003

Pipe-bomb found at 'Mad Dog' Adair's home

Army technical officers have been tasked to examine a device found at the home of UDA 'C' Company leader Johnny Adair.

A close associate of the notorious UDA commander and former UDP spokesperson John White claimed the device exploded at Adair's Boundary Walk home in the lower Shankill estate at 6am this morning.

This latest incident comes just hours after a man was shot and seriously injured in a shooting in Carrickfergus. That murder bid has been linked the loyalist feud.

The UDA leader and Mr White were expelled from the loyalist paramilitary organisation in September over fears that Adair was seeking to increase his influence. Since then a number of high-profile loyalist figures have been targeted, including John White and the UFF south Antrim commander John Gregg – who have both had pipe bombs left at their homes.

Protestant clergy have held talks aimed at defusing tensions between the factions but the situation has deteriorated rapidly in past three weeks with three murders linked to the feud.

Divisions within loyalism are nothing new and in the last serious outbreak of violence in 2000 rivalry between the UVF and UDA resulted in seven murders. Hundreds more fled their homes before an uneasy truce settled in the loyalist west Belfast heartland.

Any hopes that there may be a successful mediation between the groups seems to have been dashed by the events of the last 24 hours.

(GMcG)

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