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Ulster Defense Association

The Ulster Defense Association (UDA) is the largest of Northern Ireland's Loyalist paramilitary organizations. It has engaged in sectarian assassinations and bombings in Northern Ireland since 1972 and has been an important factor in politics and peace negotiations during the conflict in Northern Ireland.

For more than 30 years, Northern Ireland has seen battles between the province's Roman Catholics (also called Republicans or Nationalists), who wish Northern Ireland to become a part of the Republic of Ireland, and its Protestants (also called Loyalists or Unionists), who wish it to remain part of Great Britain. Catholic and Protestant paramilitary organizations have formed—both employing terror to achieve their ends.

As the violence escalated in the late 1960s, many people came to believe that Northern Ireland's security forces, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), and the British Army could no longer protect them. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA or PIRA) ...

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