Pro-shoukri 'brigadier' ousted
Published 25/03/2007 | 11:47
The UDA leadership is expected to move within days to expel the organisation's rigadier in south east Antrim and his political adviser.
Senior loyalists confirmed a statement from the inner council was to have been issued last week, but was delayed for a few days.
The UDA wants to remove paramilitary brigadier Gary Fisher and also to cut all ties with veteran political associate Tommy Kirkham, formerly of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG).
Sunday Life has been given a document said to have been passed to the inner council leadership from the "grassroots membership" in south east Antrim.
The document states: "A dictatorship exists in our brigade. Our brigade is driven by extortionists and racketeers.
"Unrest within the grassroots membership is steadily growing.
"It is our desire that these criminals be challenged by the upper echelons of the UDA. We have suffered in silence for too long."
Last year, the south east Antrim brigadier sided with the Shoukri brothers when the inner council expelled them. And Fisher and his closest associates also divorced their brigade from the rest of the UDA.
The document said to have been passed to the inner council by members in that area reads: "South east Antrim UDA are not happy at their own leadership for permitting Ihab and Yuk Shoukri and Alan McClean to attend their brigade meetings.
"The SEA grassroots membership resented their brigade staff decision to back a criminal element in North Belfast against the inner council.
"Another bone of contention is our brigade's decision to permit Ihab Shoukri to live in our brigade area."
Now, the plan is to remove and replace senior figures in the south east Antrim brigade - a first step in bringing that part of the organisation back into the mainstream paramilitary group.
A statement from the UDA leadership is expected soon.