UDA feud ratcheted up as rebel loyalist is shot: Three arrested including rival duo
Published 22/08/2014 | 11:55
The leader of the UDA in north Belfast and a close associate have been arrested after a dissident loyalist was shot in what appears to be an escalating feud.
A third man aged 31 was also later arrested on Friday.
John 'Bonzo' Boreland (44) had been driving in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast around 10pm on Wednesday with prominent UDA figure Andre Shoukri when a breeze block was thrown at the car.
The pair are believed to have stopped and stepped out at Wallasey Park when shots were fired.
It is understood that Boreland along with Shoukri abandoned the car and fled down an alley while being shot at. Boreland was then hit by a bullet on the leg.
The loyalist was treated at the Mater Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Victoria.
Yesterday afternoon a large number of riot squad police were at the scene of the shooting while forensic officers examined the area for evidence.
Officers removed a breeze block and searched a property in the area.
The North Belfast Community Development and Transition Group offices were also searched, along with some properties in north Down.
UDA 'brigadier' John Bunting (46) and his associate John 'Hoover' Howcroft (47) were later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw, PSNI district commander for north and west Belfast, said there was "no justification for bringing violence of any sort on to the streets of north Belfast".
"This type of incident adds nothing to communities, instead it can lead to fear, anxiety and tension," he said.
"This cannot be allowed to happen, and the police will do everything in our power to keep people safe, deal with this criminality and ensure that people can go about their normal business in peace.
"Detectives will continue to actively pursue this investigation to ensure that all those involved in carrying out this attack are arrested and brought before the courts."
Chief Supt Grimshaw urged anyone with any information about the shooting to contact police.
The incident appears to be the latest in an ongoing UDA power struggle in north Belfast.
Two houses in Ballysillan were attacked in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and corrosive liquid poured on two cars.
On Monday Howcroft's colleague at the North Belfast Community Development and Transition Group, Leeanne Marshall, saw her and her daughter's cars burnt outside their home. Last week Howcroft's car was set alight, and two weeks ago a pipe- bomb was thrown at Bunting's car while parked at Duncairn Gardens.
Howcroft previously told the Belfast Telegraph that the UDA in north Belfast was inactive, and accused dissident loyalists of trying to seize control and bring the area "back to the past".
He said he had been attacked over 100 times by dissident loyalists.
Bunting has claimed he is leading the organisation into peacetime through the North Belfast Community Development and Transition Group.
Story so far
The ongoing attacks:
Friday, May 22: UDA 'brigadier' John Bunting is dragged from his car on Mervue Street and attacked by a gang.
July 12: Rivals loyalists attack an Orange lodge and band during parade in Tigers Bay.
11am Monday, August 4: Pipe- bomb thrown at a car belonging to Bunting.
2am Tuesday, August 12: Shots fired at the home of Scottish loyalist Neil Findlay – a friend of Andre Shoukri.
3am Wednesday, August 13: Car belonging to John Howcroft's partner set alight outside their Alliance Road home.
3am Monday, August 18: Cars belonging to community worker Leeanne Marshall and her teenage daughter set alight outside their home on the Limestone Road
12.35am Wednesday, August 20: Two houses in Ballysillan attacked with bricks.
4.15am Wednesday, August 20: Corrosive liquid poured on a car parked on Westland Way.
5.05am Wednesday, August 20: Corrosive liquid poured on another car parked on Westland Way.