Pastor and 5 family members killed for refusing to open their home to pro-government forces in Nicaragua

ReutersDemonstrators burn the Sandinista radio station during clashes with riot police during a protest against Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega's government in Managua, May 30.

A pastor and his family were reportedly killed after they refused to open their homes to paramilitary forces who wanted to post snipers in the building to take up position against anti-government protesters.

According to Evangelical Focus, a Sandinist paramilitary group threw Molotov cocktails at the house of Pastor Óscar Velásquez Pavón and set it on fire while eight people were inside.

The pro-government paramilitary forces reportedly wanted to set up snipers on the third floor of the building ahead of a planned demonstration against the government.

Two family members were able to escape, but the fire killed Velásquez, his wife Maritza, son Alfredo, daughter-in-law Mercedes, and grandchildren Mathías and Daryeli.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in the violence in Nicaragua since mid-April, according to Evangelical Focus. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has been facing protests after he approved legislation that cut down social security and pensions.

The measure has since been revoked, but the demonstrations escalated after security forces reportedly killed more than 40 protesters.

Nicaragua's Catholic bishops had offered to take part in peace talks between the opposition and the government last month, but the dialogue has since been suspended. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua claimed that the government refused to discuss several issues, including reforms to presidential elections.

Ortega won his third consecutive term in 2016 following a constitutional amendment that allowed him to take part in the presidential race again.

Several Christian ministries have either postponed or canceled their planned missions trip this summer due to the protests.

Corner of Love, a Christian nonprofit in northern Nicaragua, hosts 30 teams of volunteers each year to help with its efforts in providing access to water, medical services and education, but the projects have been put on hold this year due to the violent protests.

'Everything is on the line: our finca (ranch), our clinic, our hospital, our school,' said the organisation's CEO Tanya Mroczek-Amador, according to Christianity Today.

 

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