A Country Held Hostage

Former contras and ex-Sandinistas are both at war with the Chamorro government

THE JACKAL FLASHED A WICKED smile as he ushered 38 invited guests into the red brick schoolhouse. Before the Nicaraguan government delegates could take in their surroundings in the muddy mountain town of El Zungano, the Jackal's band of former contra guerrillas closed around them in a tight cordon. Training automatic weapons on the hostages, the rightist rebels announced the price for freedom: dismissal of Sandinista army chief Humberto Ortega and top presidential aide Antonio Lacayo, viewed as too easy on the country's ousted Marxist rulers.

Within 24 hours, Comandante 31 and his band of ex-Sandinista officials responded by storming the...

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