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POLICE PROBE PROVO LINK TO JOJO MURDER; Flanagan vows to find killers.

RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan yesterday refused to rule out Provisional IRA involvement in the murder of Joseph "JoJo" O'Connor.

Father-of-three O'Connor, 26, a leading member of the Real IRA, was shot five times in the head in Ballymurphy, West Belfast, last Friday.

Sir Ronnie said yesterday he had not discounted speculation that the Provos were involved in the killing.

He added: "We certainly have not ruled that out. That is definite a line of inquiry we are following.

"But at this stage it's too soon to be definitive in saying who we believe carried that dreadful murder out."

The Real IRA yesterday vowed revenge for the murder, raising fears of a republican feud.

A statement said: "Our volunteers will be protected and at a time and place of our choosing, those guilty of this offence will be dealt with accordingly.

"This is not an idle threat and should not be treated as such. Nor should it be interpreted as a signal for all out indiscriminate attacks on innocent republicans loyal to the Provo leadership."

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the political group with links the Real IRA, accused "Sinn Fein spin doctors" of "sinister attempts" to cover up the circumstances of the shooting.

Chairman Francis Mackey said: "The feud mentality serves no purpose in advancing the republican agenda. The people responsible for Mr O'Connor's murder have been clearly identified by family members and local people as members of the Provisional movement."

Last night, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams offered to meet the O'Connor family.
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Author:Roberts, Joe
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 17, 2000
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