Left wing guerillas have released hundreds of hostages seized when they invaded Nicaragua's National Palace on Tuesday (22 August).
Left wing guerillas have released hundreds of hostages seized when they invaded Nicaragua's National Palace on Tuesday (22 August). However, they held on to 40 Parliamentarians and a Government Minister.
SYNOPSIS: Official sources said that 20 guerillas who were members of the Sandinist National Liberation Front attacked the Palace at about midday local time. Hundreds of people were inside the Palace which houses the Interior and Finance Ministries and the National Congress. The guerillas had been dressed in the Olive green uniforms of the National Guard. They disarmed police guarding the building and exchanged gunfire with legitimate National Guardsmen in armoured vehicles who immediately surrounded the Palace.
Among the hostages were several journalists, one of whom was reported to have, by telephone, said that the guerrillas had killed four soldiers but this could not be confirmed.
Church authorities said the Archbishop of Managua, Monsignor Miguel Obando, had agreed to act as mediator. He and another Bishop were allowed to enter the building and after negotiations, the guerillas allowed 15 wounded people to leave the building and they were taken away in ambulances. Then hundreds of minor Government employees were allowed to leave. However the important Government hostages were retained. The guerillas said they were being held to back demands for a 10 million dollar ransom together with the release of more than one hundred political prisoners and an aircraft to fly them out of the country.