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Indigenous separatists take YATAMA party headquarters in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – The recently declared Nation of Moskitia (see previous story) took its first steps toward asserting its independence from Nicaragua Thursday morning by taking over the headquarters of YATAMA, the indigenous political party the separatists claim has sold out to political interests in Managua.

The party headquarters was reportedly taken over peacefully by the newly formed Indigenous Army of the Moskitia, made up of ex-YATAMA combatants led by former Miskito rebel leader Norman Molina, known as Comandante Yul Wild (Wild Dog).

“The takeover was peaceful and massive,” separatist leader Oscar Hodgson told The Nica Times in a phone interview from Bilwi.

Hodgson said YATAMA members at party offices opted to join the separatist movement instead of resist. Hodgson, who holds the title of top adviser to the self-proclaimed indigenous government of the Moskitia, said other groups of ex-combatants, such as YATAMA NO SANDINISTA, are also joining the independence movement.

“The YATAMA ex-combatants are becoming the Indigenous Army of the Moskitia,” he said.

Other Miskito leaders are downplaying the movement.

YATAMA lawmaker Brooklyn Rivera told The Nica Times yesterday it “wasn´t necessarily true” that separatists had taken over his party´s headquarters. He said the ex-combatants and separatists are “discussing” their demands with YATAMA, and that his party supports them in their demands.

“Their demands are the same as ours: to cancel the upcoming elections on the coast, to comply with the (disarmament) accords and to remove the colonizers (west coast Nicaraguans) from our lands,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the separatist movement has created “confusion” on the Atlantic Coast, and warned of growing tensions.

Meanwhile, historic Miskito combatant Osorno “Comandante” Blas denied rumors that his group, YATAMA NO SANDINISTA, is joining forces with the separatists.

“We don´t think now is the appropriate moment for independence,” Coleman said yesterday from Bilwi.

The central government has still not responded to the separatists´ claims of independence. President Daniel Ortega has been in Cuba for the past few days, denouncing an alleged U.S. conspiracy against his government.

Read the May 1 edition of The Nica Times for more on the Moskitia.

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