Loyalist Volunteer Force
The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) is a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. It is considered a terrorist organization in Great Britain and Ireland . The EU now also has the organization on its list of terrorist organizations .
The LVF was formed in 1996 when the Mid Ulster Brigade split from the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) under the leadership of former lay minister Billy “King Rat” Wright . The reason was that this unit operating in the region around Portadown and Lurgan had murdered a Catholic taxi driver despite the UVF's ceasefire. In the months that followed, the LVF managed to recruit former members of the UVF and the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) who had been disappointed by the ceasefire , v. a. in Belfast , north of County Down and Long Kesh Prison . In the following years the LVF committed further murders of Catholics, for example in July 1997 of an eighteen-year-old Catholic who was accused of being in a relationship with a Protestant. The LVF was weakened when on December 27, 1997 Wright, who was serving an eight-year prison sentence, was shot dead by prisoners of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in Long Kesh . Subsequently, the LVF, which was led by Mark Fulton until his alleged suicide in 2002 , carried out various acts of revenge against Catholic civilians until a ceasefire declaration in May 1998. In November 1998 the LVF turned over some of its weapons to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning .
Unlike the UDA and the UVF, the LVF never succeeded in building a legal arm in the form of a party or at least developing rudiments of a political program. In 1998, the organization temporarily declared its support for the Democratic Unionist Party by Ian Paisley . The LVF's actions were almost exclusively directed against Catholic civilians or members of rival loyalist organizations. It is widely believed that the LVF, like other paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland, is deeply involved in forms of organized crime ; Martin O'Hagan , a journalist who researched the organization's role in heroin trafficking and pimping , was murdered by the LVF on September 28, 2001 in Lurgan; this was the only murder of a journalist during the Northern Ireland conflict . In this context, fellow journalists alleged that the LVF enjoyed government support in this attack.
In spring / summer 2005 the LVF came under strong pressure from the UVF when it began to attack the strongholds of the LVF, and up to now has shot four alleged LVF members and displaced their families and supporters from various residential areas - actions that were often viewed as territorial disputes in the area of organized crime. On October 30, 2005, the LVF announced that it would cease all armed action and that its weapons would be destroyed.