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Sandinistas say CIA behind kidnapping of West Germans Precede Manauga

May 19, 1986

JUIGALPA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Three West Germans working for the Sandinista government appealed Sunday for the release of eight collegues - four women and four men - captured a day earlier by anti-Sandinista rebels.

Miguel Bustos, a Chilean man working with the West Germans was shot in the leg and slightly wounded during the early morning attack Saturday, Dagmar Vogel told a news conference here.

The 12 had been living in the village of Jacinto Baca, 120 miles southeast of Managua, and were building homes for peasants as volunteers for the Sandinista Construction Ministry.

One of the attacking rebels wore a cap with the initials ″FDN,″ said Ms. Vogel, 24, of Oberhausen, West Germany.

The FDN is the Honduras-based, U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the largest of the rebel groups fighting to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry said the capture of the West German workers was part of a ″plan by the CIA of the United States to launch attacks on economic objectives, the civilian population and foreign volunteers.″

It issued a communique saying the German men and women had arrived in Nicaragua 10 days earlier.

Telephone calls to the West German Embassy in Managua were not answered.

Groups of young people from numerous countries, especially those in Europe, have been coming to Nicaragua as volunteers since the Sandinistas came to power in 1979 after toppling the right-wing regime of the late President Anastasio Somoza in a civil war.

Army Cmdr. Robert Calderon told the news conference about 70 rebels took part in the attack on Jacinto Baca.

Ms. Vogel said her group was awakened when the rebels exchanged gunfire with army troops and local militiamen. The fighting continued for about 30 minutes, she said, and then a guerrilla appeared on the patio of the house and ordered everyone outside.

″He said if we didn’t leave, he would throw a bomb inside,″ she said.

The rebels ordered the 12 foreign workers, their cook and four other Nicaraguans to move away from the house, and as the gunfire increased, some of the workers slipped away, according to Ms. Vogel.

″The Contras were too busy fighting to look for the ones who went and hid,″ she said. ″I stayed among some trees. I heard the gunfire coming closer. Then I heard the screams of Miguel - he was calling for help.″

Bustos was not taken away and Ms. Vogel, Sean Peter Steinbach, 24, of West Berlin, and Regine Christiansen of Hamburg, managed to escape.

The eight abducted by the rebels were identified as Doris Altenburg, Astrid Stelter, Angelika Gotz, Reingard Zimmer, Jurgen Wilfried Kuhr, Dirk Diethelm Hegmanns, Dominik Diehl and Siegfried Ruttig.

Ms. Christiansen and Steinbach also appeared at the press conference, but Ms. Christiansen made no statement.

Steinbach appealed to the U.S. and West German governments to work for his colleagues’ release.

″We ask the government of the Untied States to immediately stop all aid to the Contras (rebels) so they cannot perpetrate criminal acts such as this one,″ Steinbach said. ″We know that what happened to us is something that happens day by day to the Nicaraguans. It is daily life for the Nicaraguans.″

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