A mortar attack on a Jesuit university in Nicaragua this past week has been condemned by the school’s rector as “cowardly.”
There no deaths or injuries in the attack.
On May 27, three masked people fired mortar at two guards standing at the main gate of the University of Central America, located in Managua.
Fr. José Alberto Idiáquez, the rector of the university, denounced “…this cowardly night attack by para-police forces that, protected by the impunity guaranteed by the current (government), have been using the hours of the night to intimidate and kill innocent citizens in the neighborhoods of the capital and other cities.”
“Although they did not succeed in wounding or killing any of our guards, that was the intent, because of the charge of gunpowder used and because of the closeness of the shot,” he added.
The attack is the latest in a spate of violence and civil unrest in the country, which began April 18 after President Daniel Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests have only intensified.
More than 100 people have been killed and over 1,000 injured since last month.
In his statement, Idiaquez said that this is the second time the university has been under attack. The university, which has become a center of student-led anti-government activism, suspended all academic and administrative activities in the days following the latest attack.
Protesters have called for freedom of expression, an end to violent repression, and for Ortega and his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, to step down from office.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has also expressed human rights concerns regarding the violence and visited Nicaragua May 17-21 to document human rights violations. The commission found that since protests began, at least 76 have died and 868 have been injured.
The Catholic Church has been quick to acknowledge the protestors’ complaints and to attempt to mediate peace with the government.
On May 22, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua encouraged Ortega’s government to a national dialogue, which has have been now suspended after the third meeting when all side reached an impasse.