Gunmen attacked two buses carrying supporters of Nicaragua’s governing Sandinista National Liberation Front home from a celebration of the country’s 1979 revolution on Sunday, killing five people and wounding 24.
Aminta Granera, the national police commissioner, announced in a press conference that authorities had detained four people in connection with the attack on the two caravans of buses. The supporters of President Daniel Ortega’s party were returning home from an event in the capital of Managua commemorating the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship on July 19, 1979.
Matagalpa Mayor Zadrach Zeledon, a member of the party, told Channel 4 that the worst attack took place on the Pan American Highway around 1 a.m. Sunday in the Las Calabazas community. Two men and two women died of gunshot wounds, he said. A third man was killed in the second attack, which took place north of Matagalpa, between the towns of San Ramon and El Jobo.
The national police and army have not provided any information on the incident, but unofficial sources have reported that troops equipped with trained dogs and helicopters have been sent to the areas where the attacks took place.
Political parties on both sides issued statements condemning the attacks, calling them “cowardly” and demanding an investigation.
Political opposition leaders and Roman Catholic bishops in northern Nicaragua have said there are armed groups in the region that oppose President Ortega’s government. The police and military, however, have denied those claims, blaming criminal gangs for the violence.
Additional reporting by Associated Press