September 17, 1999

Former Contra rebels seize Nicaraguan crossroads

                  MANAGUA, Nicaragua (Reuters) -- Some 1,500 former members of the
                  Nicaraguan Contra rebel force occupied a rural crossroads on Friday to
                  demand that the government fulfil peace agreements, National Police said.

                  The demonstration by men, women and children began in the early morning
                  near Boaco, about 55 miles (90 km) northeast of Managua, once a stronghold
                  of the U.S.-backed Contra rebels where the families have continued to live
                  following demobilization agreements with the government, police said.

                  "They are demanding of the government a series of items that have not been
                  fulfilled," Capt. Justo Zamora told Reuters.

                  The Nicaraguan Resistance, or Contras, helped unseat the leftist Sandinista
                  regime of 1979-1990 with an armed uprising throughout the 1980s that cost
                  30,000 lives.

                  Peace agreements call for the incorporation of former Contras into the
                  government and for legalisation of titles to land now held by former resistance
                  fighters, agreements that the demonstrators said had yet to be fulfilled.