Two Nicaraguan exiles, who fought with the Sandinist guerrillas in the recent uprising against President Anastasio Somoza, have alleged that the National Guard committed atrocities against the civilian population.
SV PAN INT Nicaraguan refugees talking together in hotel foyer in Caracas, Venezuela
CU young man speaking in Spanish (three shots)
CU another refugee speaking in Spanish
On Wednesday (1 November) machine-gun fire and bomb explosions rocked the Nicaraguan capital, Managua. The national Guard reported that they had stopped an armed invasion from neighbouring Costa Rica. According to the British "Guardian" newspaper the Sandinist guerrillas are presume to have training bases in Costa Rica. After September's uprising President Somoza announced that he would double the size of the National Guard from 7,500 to 15,000, men.
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Background: Two Nicaraguan exiles, who fought with the Sandinist guerrillas in the recent uprising against President Anastasio Somoza, have alleged that the National Guard committed atrocities against the civilian population. Speaking in Caracas, Venezuela, where about forty guerrillas have found refuge, they also said the guerrilla leadership is currently being re-organised and that many young Nicaraguans are joining the movement.
SYNOPSIS: The Nicaraguan refugees have had firm backing form the Venezuelan Government, which took a strong stand against what they called "massacres and genocide" carried out by President Somoza's troops. They raised the issue at the United Nations. this young man is one of the Sandinists now living in Caracas.
He said the National Guard had used Sherman tanks to attack houses, killing the occupants -- many of whom were children. He also alleged that whole families were taken from their homes, forced to lie on the ground and then killed with steam rollers. The bodies were then collected and burned.
The former guerrilla added that it was the National Guard who started the fires that devastated many cities. The guards sprayed houses with gasoline and then set them alight, he said.
Another refugee said rather than accepting defeat the Sandinists are being re-organised, adding that large numbers of young Nicaraguans are joining the guerrillas. They hope to destroy what they call a dictatorship that has exploited the Nicaraguan people for forty-four years. The Sandinists say the resistance to President Somoza has been only temporarily halted.