Police and politicians say a prominent member of an outlawed Protestant paramilitary group has been shot dead in Belfast.

John Boreland, a member of the Ulster Defense Association, was killed in a Protestant area of the city on Sunday evening.

Senior politicians on Monday condemned the killing amid fears it could signal escalating violence between pro-British Protestant factions.

Arlene Foster, who heads Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government, said she was "shocked and disgusted" at the attack. Deputy leader Martin McGuinness said "I unreservedly condemn it."

The UDA killed more than 200 Catholic civilians during Northern Ireland's decades of violence, but has largely observed a cease-fire since 1994.

It announced in 2010 that it had disarmed, but its members remain involved in criminal rackets in working-class Protestant parts of Northern Ireland.