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Police suspect members of the Provisional IRA murdered Kevin McGuigan

The involvement of the Provisional IRA is one of the lines of enquiry being pursued.

kevinmcguigan-390x285 File photo of Kevin McGuigan, provided by the PSNI. Source: Family handout/PSNI

POLICE INVESTIGATING THE murder of Kevin McGuigan have said they are examining whether he was shot by members of the Provisional IRA.

Speaking at a news conferenced following the shooting dead of McGuigan last week, Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes says that one of their major lines of enquiry is that “members of Provisional IRA were involved in this murder”.

“I have no information to say at this stage whether this was sanctioned at a command level or not and I am not prepared to speculate about that,” he added.

Geddes went to describe that a group called Action Against Drugs (AAD) is suspected of involvement in the murder and that current or former members of the Provisional IRA are suspected of being active in this group.

Former IRA prisoner McGuigan had previously been spoken to as part of an investigation into the killing of Jock Davison, another republican figure, last May.

PSNI officers now say that a main line of enquiry is that McGuigan was killed in retaliation for the murder of Davison.

“A main line of enquiry in this investigation is that Kevin McGuigan was murdered by individuals seeking revenge for the murder of Jock Davison in May. Part of this main line of enquiry is that a group which calls itself Action Against Drugs was closely involved in the murder.”

“On 6 August AAD stated that it intended to ‘execute’ the killer or killers of Jock Davison,” he added.

Police believe that AAD is made up of individuals from a variety of background including criminals, dissident republicans and some former members of the Provisional IRA.

These, Geddes says, “have formed into a dangerous, possibly murderous, grouping in order to pursue their own criminal agenda”.

PastedImage-93184 Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes at today's press conference Source: Sky News

“This criminal agenda includes extortion and violence against the nationalist and republican community,” he says

“Our assessment is that AAD is an independent group which is not part of the Provisional IRA. But it is also our assessment that some members and associates of AAD are, or were, members of the Provisional IRA.”

The PSNI have added that “tensions are emotions are high in the community” and they are appealing for calm.

In eight separate arrests following the killing, one man appeared in court this morning on firearms charges. Two remain in custody.

Kevin McGuigan was killed when he was shot a number of times outside his home at Comber Court in the Short Strand area of Belfast last week.

Comments on this article have been closed because it involves an ongoing court case.

Originally published: 21.07

Read: Murdered ex-IRA man laid to rest – as three people are questioned over his killing>

Read: Kevin McGuigan murder – Ex-IRA prisoner shot by masked men at point blank range>

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Rónán Duffy

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