Thursday, September 23, 2021

Two men shot dead, seven die in blaze in Managua

Managua, Jun 16 (EFE).- Unidentified assailants killed two men in Managua on Saturday, not far from where a fire left at least seven people dead, including three children, Nicaragua’s National Police said in a statement.

The two men who were shot dead have been identified as Francisco Ramon Arauz Pineda and Antonio Fernandez, the National Police said.

According to the police, the shooting took place in a neighborhood in eastern Managua when municipal workers, police officers and residents were helping clear road blocks set up by protesters and were “attacked with firearms by masked criminals.”

The assailants were ruthless with the victims, as they “set their bodies on fire with gasoline and tires,” the police statement says, which does not specify if the victims were municipal workers, police officers or civilians.

Images shared on social media and broadcast on Nicaraguan television networks show one of the victims laying on the ground while a hooded man douses him in gasoline and sets fire to him, while the other the assailants cheered.

The shooting took place soon after at least seven people from the same family, including three children, died in a house fire, which according to witnesses was provoked by a group of assailants.

The National Police said an investigation had been launched and forensics teams had been dispatched to the scene of the blaze.

During the peace talks on Saturday between the government and opposition groups, which have been brokered by the Catholic church, President Daniel Ortega’s detractors placed blame for the fire on government forces, while government representatives said that masked criminals were responsible.

Nicaragua is in the midst of a political crisis that began on April 18, when the government announced a controversial social security reform, sparking massive protests and violent clashes between police and demonstrators.

The government scrapped the reform, although protests continued as demonstrators started demanding that President Ortega step down.