León (Agenzia Fides) - A Nicaraguan priest, Fr. Abelardo Toval, parish priest of the parish of Sutiava, was attacked on Saturday, September 15 by a group of three hooded men who entered his home before celebrating the first morning Mass: this is what was reported by a spokesperson of the diocese of León, in the North west of Nicaragua, in a note sent to Fides. The three beat him up and then tied him up and robbed his belongings. The priest resides in the indigenous community of Sutiava, in the city of León, 97 kilometers north-west of Managua, the capital. The news of the aggression was spread by the diocese's spokesman, Father Víctor Morales.
Father Morales did not however link the aggression with the series of recent attacks that policemen and groups of armed men, associated with the government, have perpetrated against other priests and Bishops of Nicaragua, in the current socio-political crisis that the country crosses (see Fides, 10/7/2018). On many occasions, the Nicaraguan clergy are considered an opposition group against President Daniel Ortega, who accuses the Episcopate of collaborating for an alleged "coup" (see Fides 21/07/2018). Several members of the clergy and of the Episcopate have suffered physical and verbal attacks, as well as death threats, some Catholic churches have been profaned (see Fides 10/09/2018).
Since last April, the crisis in Nicaragua has largely exceeded 400 deaths in protest demonstrations, according to local and international humanitarian agencies, while Ortega continues to deny all charges. The population in the meantime continues to demonstrate and demand the resignation of the president, for 11 years in power, and early elections.
According to Fides sources, the attitude of the government has changed: at the beginning it completely ignored the demonstrations of the population, now it carries out acts of intimidation going from one house to another, looking for those who protested against the government and holding them as political prisoners, even if they have not committed any crime. We are talking about students, professionals, workers and even farmers who are considered leaders in neighborhoods, universities or workplaces. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 17/09/2018)