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The Bishop of Estela escapes armed attack

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The Bishop of Estela  escapes armed attack

In the midst of the increasingly tense atmosphere in Nicaragua, Estela’s Bishop
Abelardo Mata survived an armed attack yesterday that was said to be carried
out by paramilitary forces. The prelate”€™s car was riddled with bullets in Nindira which is near the capital, Managua. The Bishop and driver escapedwithout injury. “€œMonsignor Mata”€™s vehicle was damaged but he and his driver were not hurt,”€ reported a local news source, confirming that the ambush had
been planned and executed by a paramilitary gang, the so-called “€œturbas”€, or mobs, who are closely allied with President Daniel Ortega.
Former Vice President of the Episcopal Conference, Bishop Mata, 72, is considered among the most critical of the Sandinista regime. “€œI spoke with Bishop Mata and, following the incident at Nindirí, he is now out of danger, thank God”€ was the tweet posted by the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Silvio Josa Baiez. Images were shown on television of the cleric”€™s car, with its shattered windows and bullet-holes.

Speakingon the private broadcasting channel 15, Roberto Pedray, one of Mata”€™s closest
collaborators, said that the Bishop was on his way back to Managua from Tisma,
a city close to Nindira,in the province of Masaya. It is a place he makes regular pastoral visits to on Sundays. Pedray reported that Mata and his driver were able to reach safety, taking shelter in a nearby home. He added, “€œHe [the Bishop] is not injured and is already under police protection”€. The Nicaraguan
Human Rights Association has expressed its “€œdeep concern and dismay”€ for the incident, and has confirmed that the act was carried out by “€œparamilitary gangs who have no respect for anyone”€.

This attack took place as tensions remain high throughout the entire country, where,
since April 18, protests by students against Ortega”€™s administration have prevailed. The Church is at the forefront of the movement to renew dialogue and reach a solution to the multiple crises.


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