Real Ulster Freedom Fighters
The Real Ulster Freedom Fighters, otherwise known as the Real UFF, is a dissident loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland. It was founded in early 2007 by former members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) /Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). They have reportedly committed 24 attacks between 2009 - 2011 in County Antrim. They are believed to number less than 50 members.
The group announced its existence on 1 April 2007, shortly after the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, as the two largest parties, agreed to share power in the Northern Ireland Assembly. In a statement, the group said:
We have had enough of people telling us what to do - if the opportunity arises we will take out the entire UDA leadership because they are selling us out. Protestant areas are still awash with drugs and we are not going to stand by while so-called loyalists line their pockets.
The group claimed to have drawn-up a "death list" that included:
- Leadership of the Ulster Defence Association
- Ousted Ulster Defence Association commander Johnny Adair
- Alleged Special Branch agents William 'Mo' Courtney and Jim Spence
- Loyalists suspected of being drug dealers
- Leadership of the Continuity Irish Republican Army and Real Irish Republican Army
The Real UFF also claimed to have an arsenal that includes rocket launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, handguns, pipe bombs, coffee-jar bombs and under-car booby-trap devices. They were said by the Sunday Life to be an alliance between former supporters of Gary "Smickers" Smyth and others who had been close to the Shoukri brothers.
Timeline of attacks
- 24 July 2009: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for a pipe bomb attack on a house in Brantwood Gardens, Antrim. Five people narrowly escaped injury when the device exploded in the front garden. The house was owned by a Catholic family and was in a mixed Catholic–Protestant area.
- 25 September 2009: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for leaving a small bomb outside a house in the Fountain Lane area of Antrim. It failed to explode.
- 15 January 2010: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for planting two explosive devices near a community centre in Antrim that was being used by members of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Police described the devices as "crude but non-viable".
- February 2010: The Real UFF made a death threat against the Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly.
- 11 March 2010: Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams revealed he had received a death threat from the Real UFF. He was reportedly told that he was to be executed by the "Real UFF C company".
- 13 March 2010: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a house in Antrim. A shot was fired through a window, but no-one was injured in the attack.
- 11 August 2010: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for leaving a pipe bomb on the windowsill of a house on Fir Grove Lane, Antrim. It failed to explode. The house was owned by a Catholic family.
- 12 August 2010: The Real UFF were blamed for planting two pipe bombs outside separate houses in Antrim. One of the bombs partially exploded, causing damage to the front of a house. Both were later defused by the British Army.
- 6 September 2010: The Real UFF were blamed for planting a pipe bomb in the grounds of a Catholic primary school (St Comgall's) in Antrim. The bomb was found by an eight-year-old boy, who handed it to a teacher. The school was then evacuated and the bomb was defused by the British Army.
- 1 November 2010: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for 2 pipe bomb attacks in the St James area of West Belfast – one of which exploded, the other of which was made safe by the British Army. They said one bomb was left at the wrong home, while the second targeted a local prominent Republican.
- 12 October 2011: The Real UFF claimed responsibility to planting a pipe bomb on the windowsill of a Polish couple's house in Steeple Road estate, Antrim. They claimed it was part of a "fightback" in that area. A Democratic Unionist Party council election candidate was charged with making pipe bombs related to this attack, and possibly other pipe bomb attacks committed by the Real UFF. In April 2013 he was jailed for three years for his role in the attack.
- 31 July 2012: The Real UFF are believed to have been responsible for planting a pipe bomb in Steeple Road estate in South Antrim, despite never claiming responsibility for the alert. The bomb was made safe by Army bomb experts.
- 25 February 2013: The Real UFF claimed responsibility for a bomb blast on the doorstep of a North Belfast woman. The explosion happened shortly after the woman heard a knock on her door, and the blast injured herself and her two pet dogs.
- "Peace process in for a R.U.F.F time". Sunday Life. 1 April 2007.
- "Pipe bomb thrown at home". UTV News. 24 July 2009.
- "Family targeted in pipe bomb attack". Belfast Newsletter. 25 July 2009.
- "Antrim family escapes unhurt after attack". RTÉ News. 24 July 2009.
- "'Real UFF' claim Antrim bomb". Belfast Newsletter. 25 September 2009.
- "Small bomb made safe in North". Irish Times. 25 September 2009.
- "Antrim attack deemed sectarian". Belfast Newsletter. 15 January 2010.
- "Kelly receives another death threat". Belfast Telegraph. 11 February 2010.
- "Two escape Antrim gun attack". UTV News. 13 March 2010.
- "Pipe bomb sparks Antrim alert". UTV News. 11 August 2010.
- "Loyalists behind pipe bomb attack". Belfast Newsletter. 11 August 2010.
- "Officers probe trio of pipe bombs". Belfast Telegraph. 12 August 2010.
- "Real UFF blamed for school bomb". UTV. 6 September 2010.
- http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/loyalists-blamed-for-bomb-blast-attack-on-west-belfast-house-14993086.html. Missing or empty
- "Pipe bomb left at Polish couple's home in Steeple, Antrim". BBC News. 12 October 2011.
- "Former DUP candidate John Smyth refused bail on explosives charges". BBC News. 27 October 2011.