(posted Dec. 10, 7:44 p.m.) - A series of armed attacks against police in Nicaragua’s “mining triangle” have left two officers dead and two injured in the past 24 hours, according to the National Police.
On Friday morning, a group of four armed assailants—two men and two women—reportedly tried to free a fifth suspect (an alleged cattle thief) who was being held at a rural police outpost in the community of Black, 40 kilometers northeast of Rosita. When the officers refused to turn-over the suspected rustler, the other four reportedly opened fire on the police outpost, killing one officer and injuring the other.
The five suspects—all of whom have been identified by the police—escaped with the officers’ weapons.
Nine hours later, in what may be an unrelated incident, a gang of four unidentified suspects ambushed a police patrol in the nearby municipality of Siuna, killing one officer and seriously injuring the second, according to National Police.
The motive of the second attack, which occurred less than 50 kilometers from the first attack, has not been identified by police.
The attacks come four days after the emergence of an armed rebel group calling itself the “Democratic Coastal Front 380,”which on Monday gunned down a local Sandinista leader in the rural community of Luku Paraska, less than 50 kilometers from Friday’s violent ambushes against police.
In Monday’s attack, eight men reportedly wearing rebel uniforms and carrying AK-47 assault rifles dragged Sandinista political secretary Carlos Alí García out of his home and shot him 11 times, then spray-painted his house with the messages: “God, Country, Democracy and Liberty or Death” and “This is the result of stolen elections.”
It is not clear whether any of this week’s attacks in the mining triangle are related.
National Police deny the presence of politically motivated rebel groups in Nicaragua. Authorities insist the recent bout of violence in the mining triangle is the activity of common criminal gangs.