Nicaraguan gov't forces accused of new attack that leaves 4 dead

    23 de junio de 2018

    Managua, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- At least four people died over the last few hours, including a 1 1/2-year-old baby, in simultaneous attacks by "combined forces" of the Nicaraguan government on the east and southeast sides of Managua, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) reported Saturday.

    "We have a report that at least four died, two in the eastern neighborhoods and two in the area of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua), where the death toll might be three but we haven't confirmed the last one," Cenidh spokeswoman Georgina Ruiz told EFE.

    The toddler and adult male were killed in different operations during nighttime shootings by the so-called "combined forces," made up of police, anti-riot squads, paramilitaries and government groups, Ruiz said.

    The two who died at UNAN were among the dozens of students who have been dug in at the campus since last April.

    Ruiz said that in the UNAN area, the government used drones to locate the students before attacking them from a nearby hill at sunrise.

    At least 15 people were wounded in the attacks this Saturday until bishops from the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) went to UNAN to avoid more deaths, Cenidh said.

    The attack occurred at the same time the CEN was asking President Daniel Ortega to hold early elections in March 2019, and called for a meeting at the negotiating table for this Monday.

    Up to this Saturday, Nicaragua has spent 67 days in the bloodiest sociopolitical crisis since the 1980s, when Ortega was also president.

    Unicef said last Wednesday in a statement that during the crisis at least 11 children and teenagers have lost their lives in acts of violence, and that cases of minors wounded and missing are constantly being reported.

    The protests against Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, began due to some failed social security reforms, and turned into a demand that the president resign after 11 years in power on grounds of abuse and corruption while in office.