Well-known loyalist John 'Bonzer' Boreland shot dead in North Belfast
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Well-known loyalist John 'Bonzer' Boreland shot dead in North Belfast

PROMINENT loyalist John Boreland has been shot dead in North Belfast. 

Boreland, a well-known member of the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) was shot shortly before 22:00 on Sunday, the BBC reports.

The shooting took place in the Sunningdale Gardens off the Ballysillan Road in the North of the city.

Boreland's age is given as 46/47 years old.

An attempt had been made on Boreland's life in the past. In August 2014, he was shot in the thigh in Ballysillan during an ongoing UDA feud between rival groups in the area.

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The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) was formed in 1971 and at it's peak was the largest of the loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Although the UDA claims to protect unionist communities from attacks by republican paramilitaries, it is known as a criminal and sectarian gang.

In 2007, Boreland was given a nine-year prison sentence after being found guilty of four charges of blackmail and one of intimidation and firearm possession.

Politicians have been quick to condemn the murder.

First Minister Arlene Foster said she was, "shocked and disgusted" and urged "everyone to work with the police as they investigate".

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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said there could be "no justification for the murder of a well known loyalist in north Belfast".

Ross Hussey, Ulster Unionist Assembly Member for West Tyrone tweeted to say "murder is murder" and it "cannot be justified."

Ulster Unionist councillor David Browne said: "If there is any thought of retaliation from anyone, please do not get into this spiral."