MANAGUA – The government of Nicaragua said on Tuesday that 197 people died during the anti-government protests that have gripped the country since April 18, and accused humanitarian agencies of political purposes to manipulate the death toll, which according to them was between 265-488 people.
“Human rights organizations – national and international ones – continue to manipulate for political purposes the data of people who died due to various causes, making them appear as if they were all caused in the context of the attempted coup d’état,” said Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada.
In an appearance before media, the foreign minister said that these organizations have allegedly increased the death toll to promote “a perception of greater instability and insecurity to the detriment of the government and the Nicaraguan people.”
According to an official report prepared by the National Police, which called the fatalities “victims of coup-plotting terrorism,” a total of 450 people passed away in Nicaragua between April 19-July 25, 197 of which died “in the context of the attempted coup d’état” while the other 253 deaths were caused by a common criminal activity.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said that the estimated number of deaths in the protests between April 18-July 30 stood at 317, including 21 police officers and 23 children and teenagers.
Meanwhile, the Truth, Justice and Peace Commission of Nicaragua, which has been criticized by various sectors for its work and independence, maintained the figure, as of July 31, at a total of 265, including 13 minors.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) reported 305 deaths, while the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH) reported 448 – both figures were not recognized by the government.
“Of all the 197 victims there are only five university students, four secondary school students, and one elementary school student,” said the inspector general of the National Police, Jaime Vanegas, who added that the death toll also included 22 other police officers.
The police chief said that the humanitarian agencies have included in their reports the 253 people who died while engaging in a common criminal activity “to discredit, defame and damage the image of the Government.”
“These statistical data point to those who encouraged, directed and executed these bloody terrorist actions, with the objective of unconstitutionally changing the democratically elected Government of Reconciliation and National Unity,” said Moncada, who further stressed that the leaders of the protest “must appear before the courts.”