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Attacks on ruling party backers kill 5, wound 24

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Unidentified gunmen staged separate attacks on two buses carrying supporters of Nicaragua’s governing party home after a celebration of the Central American country’s 1979 revolution, killing five people and wounding 24, local authorities said Sunday.

The national police and army provided no information on either attack reported in northern Nicaragua, and there was no indication of who staged the assaults.

Matagalpa Mayor Zadrach Zeledon, a member of the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front, told Channel 4 that the worst attack happened on the Pan American Highway around 1 a.m. Sunday in a community known as Las Calabazas. Two men and two women died from bullet wounds, he said.

The other attack was reported north of Matagalpa on a road between the towns of San Ramon and El Jobo. One man was reported killed there.

The government supporters were heading home after Saturday’s commemoration of the ouster of the Somoza dictatorship on July 19, 1979.

Leaders of the political opposition as well as Roman Catholic bishops in Nicaragua’s north have said there are groups of people who have taken up arms against the government of President Manuel Ortega. Both the police and military have denied those claims, saying crime gangs are behind violence in the region.

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