An aspiring Brazilian medical student has become the latest casualty of the ongoing socio-political strife that has shaken Nicaragua for more than three months, her university and a human rights group reported Tuesday.
Rayneia Lima, 29, was on her way home after completing her residency shift at a local hospital Monday night when the vehicle she was driving was sprayed with bullets, according to Ernesto Medina, rector of the American University of Managua.
Medina said the shots, which hit several vital organs, came from armed pro-government civilians who have taken over the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua since July 13. She was traveling near that campus.
Rayneia Lima, an aspiring doctor, was shot dead while driving home from work in Nicaragua. Her sister, Ketelly Lima, shared this picture on her Facebook account
He added that Lima was a sixth-year student and practicing resident at the police-run Carlos Roberto Huembes Hospital in Managua.
In a statement, Nicaragua’s National Police attributed her death to a ‘private security guard,’ saying he opened fire ‘under circumstances that have not yet been determined.’
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry expressed its ‘profound indignation’ over the killing.
The Brazilian government called in the Nicaraguan ambassador and recalled its ambassador from the Central American nation on Tuesday, seeking clarification from Nicaragua’s government.
29-year-old Rayneia Lima was killed Monday night in Nicaragua while on her way home after finishing up her work shift at a hospital in Managua, Nicaragua
Rayneia Lima was in her sixth year of medical school and practicing her residency in Managua, Nicaragua, before she died Monday night when her car was sprayed with bullets
‘The Brazilian government again condemns the deepening repression, the disproportionate and lethal use of force and the use of paramilitary groups in operations coordinated by security forces,’ the ministry said in a statement.
It urged Nicaragua to punish those responsible for the killing and also ‘to guarantee the free exercise of individual rights and public liberties.’
According to the non-governmental Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association, at least 351 people have been killed in political unrest that erupted in April.
What began as protests against proposed social security cuts later broadened into calls for President Daniel Ortega to leave office after security forces and pro-government civilian militias began a deadly crackdown.
Rayneia Lima, a 29-year-old medical Brazilian student, died Monday night when that car she was driving was shot at. Lima had just concluded her residency shift at a local hospital in Nicaragua
Alvaro Leiva, the association’s director, said Monday that three people were killed, 25 wounded and 15 detained Monday in the city of Jinotega when police and paramilitaries attacked protest barricades.
The violence came hours after Ortega said in an interview with Fox News that the country was returning to normal.
‘The disturbances have ceased over the last week in the country and things are on course for normalization,’ the president said in his first interview with an independent news outlet in nine years.
He also rejected calls for early elections and denied having any responsibility for attacks on Roman Catholic clergy or killings of civilians, blaming the violence on his political opponents and foreign interests.
Demonstrators march demanding the ouster of President Daniel Ortega and the release of political prisoners, in Managua, Nicaragua, on Monday
That is counter to what international organizations and Nicaraguan rights groups have documented.
Last week the Organization of American States adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses committed by Nicaraguan security forces and their armed civilian backers.
‘State-sponsored violence in Nicaragua is undeniable. Ortega’s propaganda fools no one and changes nothing. 350+ dead at the hands of the regime,’ U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Monday via Twitter. ‘The US calls on the Ortega government to end the violence NOW and hold early elections – the world is watching!’
Ortega has also accused those demanding he leave office of being coup plotters.
Leiva denounced what he called a ‘fierce persecution’ against protesters, saying that during a 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday more than 750 people had been abducted ‘by paramilitaries in a clear violation of human rights.’