Human Rights Group Accuses the Nicaraguan Army of Repressing Civilians

    HAVANA TIMES – The legal director of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), Gonzalo Carrion, accused the Army of being “committed to the state of terror,” for allegedly tolerating paramilitary groups attacking civilians protesting against the Ortega government, reported dpa news.
    Carrion visited relatives of six people who died burned alive this Saturday in a house attacked by police and alleged paramilitaries in Managua, in another bloody episode of the crisis that the country has been living for almost two months.
    “This is a complaint that we firmly make to the Army: nobody can buy a high-precision rifle in a grocery store, those who are traveling around and killing people are not just anyone, they have military training,” said the human rights activist.
    In the last two weeks, Managua and other cities in the country have been seized with terror, by the unprecedented presence of snipers in public places and the mobilization of heavily armed men in raids against government opponents, in which many young people have been kidnapped. 
    In many cases, those hooded and dressed in black are openly visible operating with uniformed police and carrying AK-47 assault rifles and M-16 rifles, among others.
    According to the law, “only two forces can possess rifles of war in Nicaragua: the National Police and the Army, which is also engaged in this state of terror,” said Carrion.
    Addressing the military leadership, he questioned how is it that in recent years the Army “kills a number of peasants in arms, calls them criminals and makes clean-up operations, (while) here these men of a criminal structure walk the streets with rifles of war.”
    The Nicaraguan Army has said it is not involved in the serious crisis, which began on April 18 with a student protest, and said it would not repress protests by civilians.
    However, in recent days residents have reported flights of suspected military helicopters in areas of the interior, in apparent support for the transfer of riot police, as well as the use of sophisticated weapons of war by unknown persons.
    The crisis has already claimed the lives of around 200 people and another 1,400 were injured, according to independent human rights organizations.



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