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Suspects Eyed in Nicaragua Ambush

March 20, 2000

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Members of a Nicaraguan leftist paramilitary group are suspected in the ambush killing of the group’s former leader, police said Sunday.

Members of the Andres Castro United Front allegedly killed former leader Edmundo Olivas because of personal differences, police spokesman Carlos Bendana said at a news conference.

Bendana identified only the band’s alleged leader, Franklin Hernandez Granados, who was still at large.

Olivas and another man, Francisco Congreras were shot to death Thursday near Boaco, 55 miles northeast of the capital, Managua. Olivas’ wife was seriously injured.

The front, made up of a band of ex-Sandinista soldiers, was one of several groups of former combatants from both sides of Nicaragua’s 1980s Contra war. The groups rearmed to forcibly demand government aid or engage in banditry.

The front officially disarmed in 1997 under an agreement with the government. Police said some members kept their weapons and continue to commit robberies and kidnappings in the central part of the country.

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