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Brief Firefight On Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border

April 17, 1986

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) _ Costa Rican and Nicaraguan soldiers exchanged gunfire briefly near a border village, but no one was injured and the Nicaraguan soldiers quickly fled, a police official said Thursday.

Oscar Vidal, director general of the Costa Rican Civil Guard, said the clash was Tuesday afternoon at Las Tablitas. He said the Costan Rican guard patrol intercepted and engaged Nicaraguan soldiers who were questioning two Nicaraguan civilians inside Costa Rican territory.

The Nicaraguan patrol quickly fled back across the border, Vidal said. He added that the Nicaraguan civilians, Gregorio Garcia Hurtado and Ana Navarro Fletes, had been living in Costa Rica for more than 40 years.

Relations between the two Central American nations have been tense since the leftist Sandinistas seized power in Nicaragua in July 1979. Nicaraguan rebels, supported by the United States, have since been battling the Sandinistas from bases in Costa Rica and in Honduras.

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