Claims Plot to Blow Up Economic Targets Thwarted
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ The Sandinista government has arrested five guerrillas who planned to blow up economic targets to coincide with an offensive by rebels in northern Nicaragua, according to Interior Minister Tomas Borge.
He told a news conference Friday that a rebel sympathizer tipped off authorities about the planned bombings of the offices of the national bus company ENABUS, the Soviet airline Aeroflot, an electrical substation and a supermarket.
Borge and other officials have said 2,500 Honduras-based rebels are planning to launch a new offensive soon.
Alejandro Castillo, an avowed rebel sympathizer appeared at the news conference with two of the five people arrested for allegedly taking part in the plot. Castillo, who was not under arrest, said he told authorities about the scheme.
He linked the alleged plot to the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the largest rebel group fighting the left-wing Sandinistas.
Castillo said the leader of the alleged terrorist team was Alberto Stulzer, who was arrested Aug. 15. Stulzer did not appear at the news conference. Castillo claimed that Stulzer had contacts with the Democratic Force rebels and been had been instructed to form a sabotage cell within Nicaragua.
Castillo told reporters he knew of Stulzer’s team because he also opposed the Sandinista government, but went to authorities when he learned of plans to blow up the installations.
Officials identified the other suspects under arrest as Guillermo Moreno, 28, who allegedly determined the places that were to be bombed; Sixto Aristides; Alfonso Mejia Chavarria, a construction supervisor, and Digna Peralta.
Oscar Loza, operations chief for state security, said 44 pounds of plastic explosives were seized at Peralta’s home.
Mejia Chavarria, arrested Sept. 21, told the news conference he became involved in the scheme because he was promised help in getting his son out of the country to avoid military service.
The arrest dates for the others were not announced, and other information on the five was not available. They are charged with violations of state security laws, which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
The government has said those reports and internal unrest led to Tuesday’s suspension of civil rights, including freedom of expression, public assembly and the right to strike.
Borge said rebel radio broadcasts 10 days ago instructed the five to begin the operations, unaware that they had already been arrested.
The U.S. Congress cut off military aid to the Nicaraguan rebels a year ago, but earlier this year apparoved $27 million in non-lethal aid.