LVF's short but turbulent history (Northern Ireland)

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A loyalist paramilitary group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, says it is to stand down in response to the IRA move to decommission arms in September. Kevin Connolly examines the background and implications.

The short but turbulent history of the Loyalist Volunteer Force mixed bouts of savage blood-letting with bizarre and unpredictable political gestures.

The organisation was created when a faction of the UVF in Portadown rejected the decision of their leaders in Belfast to declare a ceasefire in 1994.

Under the leadership of the local paramilitary warlord Billy Wright, the LVF committed itself to the traditional loyalist belief that the nationalist community could be terrified into demanding an end to IRA violence by a campaign of random murder directed against it.

The UVF leadership was furious at Billy Wright's act of rebellion - but they were wary of his reputation for savage, clinical efficiency as a killer and also of his popularity.

When the UVF tried to order him out of Ulster, thousands of Protestants turned out at a rally called to support him. The seeds were laid for future conflict between the UVF and the LVF.

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