MADRID, Spain (AP) _ A jailed Argentine guerrilla leader says Nicaragua's Sandinista government condoned his 1980 assassination of exiled dictator Anastasio Somoza, a Spanish newspaper reported Sunday.

``The initiative was ours. The FSLN was informed and was politically in agreement,'' Enrique Gorriaran Merlo was quoted Sunday as telling El Pais. The Sandinista National Liberation Front, known by its Spanish initials FSLN, overthrew Somoza in July 1979.

Gorriaran, 54, responded to written questions from his prison cell outside Buenos Aires, where he was extradited last year after being arrested in Mexico after 23 years on the run.

In Argentina he faces charges of leading a 1989 attack on an army barracks outside Buenos Aires in which 39 people died.

In a televised interview last year from a hideout, Gorriaran claimed he assassinated Somoza in Paraguay in 1980.

Somoza had been granted political asylum by Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner after his ouster. Somoza and his driver died when a bazooka shell and automatic weapons fire tore through their car.

``After being overthrown, he financed and directed the counterrevolution from Paraguay. He was an active dictator who was trying to return to power,'' Gorriaran told El Pais.

Gorriaran claims to be the leader of the leftist All for the Fatherland group.