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Nicaragua Contra War Figure Dies

March 16, 2000

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ The former leader of a leftist paramilitary group was ambushed and killed Thursday along a highway in northern Nicaragua, police reported.

Edmundo Olivas, known by the nom de guerre of Camilo Turcos, was shot to death near the city of Boaco, 55 miles northeast of the capital, Managua, police spokesman Carlos Bendana said.

Another man, Francisco Congreras, was also killed in the shooting and Olivas’ wife, Doribel Caceres, was seriously injured. Police said they did not know the motive for the attack or the identity of the attackers.

Olivas led a band of ex-Sandinista soldiers known as the Andres Castro United Front, one of several groups of former combatants from both sides of Nicaragua’s 1980s Contra war. The groups rearmed to forcibly demand aid from the government or to engage in banditry.

The Front officially disarmed in 1997 under an agreement with the government, but some members refused to lay down their weapons and police have accused them of robberies and kidnappings in the central part of the country.

Those renegade group members kidnapped Canadian mining engineer Manly Guarducci, who was released in November after 34 days in captivity. Olivas served as a mediator between the government and the kidnappers in that incident.

A few days after Guarducci was freed, another former Front leader known as ``Comandante Tito″ was killed in the mining town of Rosario.

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