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Nicaragua charges Honduras attacked its boats

By OSWALDO BONILLA

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Honduran planes and ships attacked two Nicaraguan fishing boats Monday with rockets and automatic weapons fire, killing a captain and wounding four fishermen, Nicaraguan officials charged.

The report brought to five the number of Nicaraguan vessels that the government said were attacked by Honduran forces in two days.

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'Two Honduran speedboats and two coast guard vessels attacked two Nicaraguan fishing boats in national waters situated 2 kilometers (1 mile) from Point San Jose,' the Foreign Ministry said in a protest note to the government in neighboring Honduras.

'Three Honduran planes shot automatic weapons and fired rockets on the Nicaraguan boats in support of the criminal attack,' the ministry charged.

The ministry said the attack occurred near Point San Jose about 90 miles northwest of Managua. The site is near the Gulf of Fonseca, which is shared by Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

One boat, the Gonzalo Brenes, was hit and began sinking. Its captain, identified as Lorenzo Garcia, was killed, and four fishermen were seriously wounded, the ministry statement said.

The Honduran vessels and planes left the scene a half hour later for Honduras, it said.

In an earlier protest, the Foreign Ministry charged that two Honduran navy speedboats had attacked a Nicaraguan coast guard ship Sunday in the same area as the Monday attack.

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Several hours later, two Honduran coast guard ships attacked two Nicaraguan fishing boats in Nicaraguan waters, 7 miles north of Cabo Gracias a Dios, sinking one of them and wounding one Nicaraguan, the ministry said.

'These latest acts of aggression and flagrant violations of Nicaraguan sovereignty show evidence once more of the absolute lack of Honduran will in favor of peace,' the ministry charged.

The leftist Sandinista government Monday also set a formal note to Costa Rica warning that 'counter-revolutionary elements connected to the terrorist organization ARDE' were planning a bazooka and mortar attack on 'a frontier commando of the Costa Rican rural guard located near Penas Blancas.'

Rebels of the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance, ARDE, would carry out the raid near the Penas Blancas border crossing point in order to make Costa Rica believe they were Nicaraguan soldiers, it said.

The Defense Ministry earlier said that 28 anti-Sandinista rebels and 17 troops were killed in fighting in the northern mountains during the past 10 days.

The report of fighting at five locations in Nicaragua's northern provinces came a day after a wide-reaching amnesty offer by the government to rebels and other exiles in a bid to end the war that has cost more than 1,000 lives this year.

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