Nicaragua arrests 24 after attack in indigenous land dispute

Jan 27, 2023, 3:06 AM | Updated: 5:08 pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Nicaraguan authorities said Friday they arrested 24 settlers after they allegedly attacked an indigenous community as part of a land dispute.

It was the first large-scale arrest of non-indigenous settlers after several years of invasions and attacks in the territory belonging to the Miskito, Mayangna and other indigenous groups.

Nicaragua’s National Police said the 22 men and two women were detained in the Caribbean coastal region the previous day. Police said indigenous residents told them the attackers were armed with sticks, stones and machetes.

Nicaraguan authorities have been slow to investigate such attacks, and activists said Friday that the settlers had actually been detained by residents, who turned them over to police.

“They didn’t detain the settlers. It was the local residents themselves who caught them,” said María Luisa Acosta, a lawyer who heads the Center for Legal Assistance for Indigenous Peoples.

The arrested settlers were taken to a jail near the capital, Managua, and would be charged with organized crime, land seizure and environmental crimes, officials said.

But activists expressed doubts about whether the government would really follow up on the case, after years in which it has allowed indigenous communities to be attacked.

“This is the first time the government has announced the detention of those who invade indigenous territory,” said environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, director of the Del Río Foundation.

He added that “we have to be extremely cautious” about the arrests. “They have detained these kind of people before and later let them go,” Ruíz said.

The Mayangna and Miskito communities have been hit by a number of attacks in recent years that have been blamed on settlers who invaded indigenous lands. Ruíz has said that at least 28 indigenous leaders and community members have been killed in recent years.

Several attacks in 2021 and 2022 killed Miskito and Mayangna people around Bosawas, a protected area. The reserve has been hit by illegal mining and logging.

Indigenous activists say the government of President Daniel Ortega has not done enough to address the problems in the jungled region, something his administration denies.

Activists say many of the settlers moving onto the lands are former soldiers linked to timber and illegal logging interests.

The Del Río Foundation says about 60% of the Mayangnas’ territory has been invaded by about 5,000 settlers since 2015, displacing some 3,000 indigenous inhabitants.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
1 day ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
2 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
3 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
3 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
4 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Nicaragua arrests 24 after attack in indigenous land dispute