Honduras accuses Nicaragua of arming and training rebels

November 25, 2010

The Nicaraguan Army is categorically denying unsubstantiated reports in Honduras that Nicaraguan soldiers are training and supplying Honduran guerrillas in a plot to destabilize the right-wing government of Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo.

Nicaraguan Army spokesman Col. Juan Ramón Morales told The Nica Times Thursday morning that military intelligence has “no knowledge of any support” for alleged Honduran guerrillas reportedly being recruited and trained in a rural area in northern Honduras.

He said the Nicaraguan Army “categorically denies” the reports published Wednesday in the Honduran press.

Morales said the Nicaraguan Army, which maintained close contact with the Honduran military even during moments of political tension during last year’s coup in Honduras, has not received any official communication from Honduran authorities on the subject. He said the whole situation is “curious.”

The scandal broke Wednesday when Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez told the Honduran media he has gathered intelligence suggesting that groups are being trained and armed in the rural zone of Bajo Aguán, in the north-central department of Colón. Alvarez said some 3,000 Honduran rebels are being supplied with guns brought across the border from Nicaragua.

He said President Lobo considers the situation a “danger to national security.”

Alvarez claims the alleged guerrillas aim to destabilize the Lobo government, which the left-wing governments of Latin America – including Nicaragua – consider to be the illegitimate product of last year’s coup.

Leonel Sauceda, spokesman for the Honduran Security Ministry, confirmed the Honduran media reports. He told The Nica Times in a phone interview Thursday from Tegucigalpa that Honduran intelligence has gathered information showing “without a doubt” that Honduran guerrillas are being trained and supplied with “weapons of war.” He added that police are investigating the matter.

Minister Alvarez told Honduran media outlets Wednesday that police and army intelligence have detected trafficking of “weapons such as AK-47s, M16s and possibly other more potent weapons that are going to be used by groups that want to destabilize the democracy of our country,” according to the daily La Tribuna.

Alvarez said the Honduran Army also has information that Hondurans are being recruited and trained outside the country.

“The information we have is that they have been mobilizing all the way to Nicaragua, which is a concern,” Alvarez said, according to La Tribuna.

The security minister noted that in the 1980s several Hondurans were recruited in Nicaragua and then trained in Cuba to try to destabilize the Honduran government.

Nicaragua is now being accused of military incursions of different types into both Costa Rica and Honduras. Nicaragua firmly denies the allegations from both neighboring countries.

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