MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AFP) – At least five people have been killed and 11 were wounded in acts of violence during and after weekend municipal elections in Nicaragua that saw President Daniel Ortega’s party the victor, various party leaders and local media said Monday.
Two people were killed in the remote community of Sandy Bay Sirpi, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. Both were members of the indigenous Yatama party, the group’s leader, George Henriquez, told AFP.
A member of the right-leaning Liberal Constitutionalist Party was killed with a shot to the head as he served as a polling officer in the northern town of Wiwili, a spokesman for the party, Jorge Irias, told the media.
The other two killed were members of the Citizens for Liberty Party, in the northern town of Yali, party leaders said.
Panorama Electoral, an electoral observers group operating without official authorization, said it had recorded four of the deaths. It also said 11 people were wounded by gunshot in various areas, and that a pregnant woman went missing in the town of San Miguelito.
The head of the Supreme Electoral Council, Roberto Rivas, spoke of “a somewhat difficult situation in Yali” but did not mention any fatalities. He called on communities to “stay calm” and for police to investigate.
Nicaragua’s police made no immediate public statement on the reported violence.
The electoral council on Monday declared Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) as the winner of the local elections with 68 percent of valid ballots cast.
The Liberal Constitutionalist Party came a distant second with 16 percent.
Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla, has been president since 2007. In his easy re-election for a third consecutive term a year ago, he made his wife, Rosario Murillo, his vice president.
Critics contend he has become increasingly autocratic and had positioned Murillo to succeed him. But citizens generally seem content that under his rule Nicaragua is a relatively stable country compared to its gang-ridden neighbors Honduras and El Salvador.
Henriquez, of the Yatama Party, said there had been a conflict between Yatama and FSLN members in the Sandy Bay area. He accused the local FSLN boss of having murdered the two Yatama party members there.
“They are burning each others’ houses down” in revenge for the victims, and at least 50 people had fled for fear of reprisals, he said.
Other claims of arson and political confrontations were reported in San Miguelito, in the northern town of Jalapa, and on Corn Island, according to media and social networks, but there was no official confirmation.