Skip links

‘They are shooting at a church’: Inside the 15-hour siege by Nicaraguan paramilitaries on university students

 The first student I met outside the Church of the Divine Mercy had a fresh bullet hole in his lower back.

“It’s ugly in there,” he said.

“In there” was the vast, jungly campus of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), which by Friday afternoon had become a battleground. Far from the initial fighting was the Catholic church, a supposedly safe place for triage, and beleaguered and wounded students were arriving from the front lines by pickup truck, by motorbike and on foot.

“We had to evacuate,” Jonas Cruz, 18, said. “They are invading the barricades. They are already inside.”

These students, and much of Nicaragua, have been in revolt against President Daniel Ortega’s government for the past three months, enraged by how he has consolidated near total power over his four terms as president, undermined democratic institutions and allowed his security apparatus to employ deadly force against protesters. More than 300 people have been killed since the conflict began in April, the vast majority civilians.

Starting Friday afternoon, a new crisis emerged. Pro-government militias set out to crush the student rebellion at the university, one of the last strongholds of open resistance in the capital. During a 15-hour siege, some 200 university students and others were pinned down by gunfire inside this small Catholic church compound. Two students were killed and at least 10 were injured before top Catholic clergy were able to negotiate their release on Saturday morning and escort the surviving students across police lines.

Read more at Washington Post. 
Share with Friends: