Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) is a loyalist paramilitary organisation that exists "to protect the Loyalist community from attempts to persecute them by armed attack and political subversion." The Ulster Democratic Party is the political wing of the outlawed Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). Led by Gary McMichael, the UDP is one of two fringe loyalist party to take part in the 1997 peace talks and holds a similar position to that of the PUP.
Loyalists were blamed for the 14 March 1997 killing of 44-year-old Catholic John Slane, who was shot as he prepared food for his twins in the kitchen of his West Belfast home. loyalist sources later claimed that the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) was responsible for the killing, but maintained that it had been a case of mistaken identity.
According to the State Department Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 Report, the UDA/UFF has evolved into a criminal organization involved in drug trafficking and other moneymaking criminal activities. In February of 2003, the UDA/UFF declared a 12-month cease-fire but refused to decommission its weapons arsenal until Republican groups did likewise and emphasized its continued disagreement with the Good Friday accords. Even though numerous attacks on Catholics were blamed on the group, the UDA/UFF did not claim credit for any attacks and in August reiterated its intention to remain militarily inactive.
The group has been involved in an internecine war with other loyalist groups for the past several years, which has lead to the deaths of numerous members of the organization. In January 2002, the UDA/UFF called for an end to sectarian violence; in the preceding months, the UDA had been blamed for more than 300 bombings and shootings against Catholics in Belfast. Nevertheless, the UDA/ UFF continued its attacks against Catholics, as well as those seen as a threat to its criminal enterprises.
The UDA/UFF admitted responsibility for the murder of a Catholic postman in January 2002, an attack also claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a group used as a cover name by some UDA/UFF elements. The UDA also was blamed for a drive-by shooting that wounded three Catholics in September. Johnny Adair, the only person ever convicted of directing terrorism in Northern Ireland, was a leading UDA member until September 2002 when he was expelled from the group because of his growing ties to the LVF.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|