May 19, 2000

Armed group kills, beheads 11 in Nicaragua

                  MANAGUA, Nicaragua (Reuters) -- An armed gang massacred and beheaded 11
                  members of a family in a remote region of Nicaragua's Caribbean coast, leaving
                  their heads impaled on fence spokes, the police said on Friday.

                  Jamil Gutierez, police chief in Siuna, some 400 kilometers (280 miles) north of
                  the capital Managua, said four armed men attacked the family of Guadelupe
                  Montenegro -- a former leader of a demobilized leftist rebel group -- on
                  Thursday night.

                  The attackers cut off their victims' heads and left them impaled on fence spokes
                  around the house, he added.

                  The dead included Montenegro; his wife; a 22-year-old son; his mother-in-law,
                  70; and another family member. Six other bodies had still to be identified.

                  Five children survived, including a baby and a girl, 7, who suffered bullet

                  Montenegro's former rebel group, the Andres Castro United Front, was the last
                  armed rebel group to demobilize in 1997. The group was among a series of right-
                  and left-wing groups that continued to carry arms after the official 1990 end of a
                  civil war between the former Soviet-backed Sandinista government and
                  U.S.-armed Contra insurgents.