Murdered loyalist Boreland was close associate of Andre Shoukri

PACEMAKER BELFAST
Loyalist John Boreland. UDA leader who was shot dead in Belfast last night
PACEMAKER BELFAST Loyalist John Boreland. UDA leader who was shot dead in Belfast last night

John Boreland, the loyalist murdered last night, was a close associate of well-known north Belfast loyalist Andre Shoukri.

Ten years ago the UDA expelled Shoukri and his late brother Ihab from the organisation after a bitter fall-out between their gang and the mainstream leadership.

PSNI forensics at the scene of the murder

PSNI forensics at the scene of the murder

There have been mounting tensions between rival loyalists in north Belfast in recent weeks.

Loyalist gunmen have been responsible for dozens of murders since the organisations supposedly went on ceasefire in the 1990s.

Many of the killings have been linked to feuds and turf wars among loyalist rivals.

The latest shooting has prompted further questions about the authenticity of the ceasefires.

Andre Shoukri

Andre Shoukri

Last year, the main loyalist paramilitary groups restated their commitment to non-violence as they came together to launch a new initiative - the Loyalist Communities Council.

DUP Assembly member for north Belfast Nelson McCausland condemned the “shocking” murder.

“No-one has the right to take life,” he said.

“There will be speculation as to the reason for the murder but whatever the reason, it is wrong.

A road is sealed off close to the murder scene

A road is sealed off close to the murder scene

“We had too many murders down through the years and too many lives have been taken.

“That is why I want to see all the guns off the streets.

“This happened on a quiet Sunday night and there are quite a number of elderly folk who live close to where this happened. They must have been alarmed that this happened outside their homes.

“It is imperative that anyone who has information about the murder makes that available to the police so that the culprit can be brought before the courts.”

Forensic officers on the scene in Belfast this morning

Forensic officers on the scene in Belfast this morning

Sinn Fein MLA for north Belfast Gerry Kelly said: “I call on anyone with information on this shooting to bring it forward to the police so those responsible can be caught and taken off the streets.

“The people behind this attack want to plunge us back to the past. They must not be allowed to succeed.

“I am calling on local political leaders and people with influence in the community and civic society to do all in their power to prevent any further attacks or any escalation of what appears to be internal loyalist feuding.”