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Three Rebel Prisoners Shot in Escape Attempt, Government Says

April 23, 1987

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Three Nicaraguan rebel prisoners were shot to death Wednesday during an escape attempt, an Interior Ministry communique said.

The prisoners had been taken to San Jose de Omure, in the central province of Matagalpa, to show authorities where explosives were buried, according to the communique, which was read over a government radio station.

As they led officials to the site about 7 a.m., one of the men, Pedro J. Gonzalez, hit a guard and the three tried to flee, the communique said.

The village where the shooting occurred does not appear on maps and its exact location was not available.

″The guards were forced to shoot to prevent the escape of the prisoners, who were all killed,″ the statement said.

The three men, who included Jose A. Picado and Mario C. Garcia, were accused of blowing up power lines and killing peasants. They were believed to have been jailed in Managua.

Two men with similar names, Jose Alfredo Picado Garcia and Mario Cesar Garcia Montenegro, identified as the commander and assistant commander of a squad that allegedly sabotaged power lines, were among nine prisoners who appeared at a government news conference April 10.

Officials were unavailable to confirm if they were the same men who were reportedly killed in the attempted escape Wednesday.

Sabotage of economic targets, such as the electrical system, has been part of an increase in activity in recent weeks by the U.S.-backed rebels.

Officials have said that thousands of the rebels, fighting to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government, have entered the country from camps in Honduras this year to mount a spring offensive.

Update hourly