Shots fired at top loyalist's house in Belfast

 

The house of a top loyalist in north Belfast was attacked by gunmen last night.

Just days after he replaced Ulster Defence Association shooting victim Mr Davy Mahood as the organisation's political representative in the north of the city, two bullets smashed through the door of Mr Sammy Duddy's house.

No one was injured in the attack at Carmeen Drive in the Rathcool Estate yesterday but a pet dog was hit and later died.

Mr Duddy said: "It was an attempt to scare both me and my wife. We had received a death threat three nights prior to that of which we took no notice."

He added that the threat had been issued in the name of a non-existent loyalist grouping.

Tensions within loyalism have remained dangerously high after a festering feud between the UDA and its rivals in the Loyalist Volunteer Force erupted into a bloody shooting war in September.

Three men have since been killed and several others injured during the savage fighting over drugs and territory.

As the battle for supremacy raged, feared UDA commander Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair was expelled for allegedly siding with the LVF.

Efforts to broker a truce have since been stepped up, with senior churchmen drafted in to help negotiations.

But the feud took a vicious twist on Thursday when Mr Mahood, the north Belfast spokesman for the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group, was shot in both legs.

Mr Mahood, 53, had already survived an apparent assassination bid last month when a shot was fired at him on his way to work.

Until recently he had been a close associate of both Mr Adair and his mentor Mr John White.

But he was subjected to the punishment shooting during what the UDA called disciplinary action. His position within the UPRG was then taken by Mr Duddy.

Informed loyalist sources last night claimed members of the UDA's ousted C Company in West Belfast launched the shooting attack on his home in a bid to derail peace talks with the LVF.

PA