(July 20, 6:50 am) —The 35th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution ended in bloodshed early this morning when buses carrying party supporters back home to Matagalpa and Estelí were ambushed in what appears to be coordinated attacks that killed 5 people and injured more than two dozen, according to preliminary reports from state media.
Sandinista authorities say buses bringing party supporters home from the 35/19 anniversary celebration in Managua were ambushed around midnight on KM 60 of the Inter-American Highway, in the community of Las Calabazas, Matagalpa. The armed men opened fire on the bus, killing four people and injuring 24.
There was apparently a second similar attack that occurred around the same time in San Ramon, Matagalpa, where another bus was ambushed, claiming the life of a 19-year-old Sandinista passenger, according to Sandinista Mayor Sadrach Zeledón.
The victims of the attacks were from the rural communities of San Ramon, Matagalapa, and San Juan de Limay, Estelí.
Sandinista authorities are calling the attacks a “cowardly massacre.”
“This was practically an act of terrorism,” Estelí Mayor Francisco Valenzuela told Sandinista media. “We demand justice.”
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. And Sandinista authorities are being careful not to blame the attack on rearmed contras, whose existence the government denies.
However, on Saturday morning a bus full of Sandinista supporters heading from Ocotal to Managua to celebrate the Anniversary of the Revolution were stopped on the highway at 6:30 a.m. by a group of self-proclaimed rearmed contras who threatened the passengers and then tagged the bus with FDN-380, the mark of the contra.
The Nicaragua Dispatch reached out to the alleged leadership of FDN-380 for comment, but did not immediately hear back from him.
President Daniel Ortega has not yet commented on Sunday morning’s deadly attacks in Matagalpa.