Toll from Nicaragua unrest hits 264: rights body

web_photo_Nicaragua_11072018

A nun embraces a demonstrator inside a church in Diriamba, Nicaragua July 9,2018.

A nun embraces a demonstrator inside a church in Diriamba, Nicaragua July 9,2018.

web_photo_Nicaragua_11072018

A nun embraces a demonstrator inside a church in Diriamba, Nicaragua July 9,2018.

A nun embraces a demonstrator inside a church in Diriamba, Nicaragua July 9,2018.

WASHINGTON - The known death toll from a four-month crackdown on anti-government protests in Nicaragua has risen to 264, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Wednesday.

"As recorded by the IACHR since the start of the repression against social protests, to date, 264 people have lost their lives and more than 1,800 have been injured," the commission&39;s chief Paulo Abrao told reporters.

He was speaking at a meeting of the Organization of American States -- of which the IACHR is part -- about the situation in the violence-wracked Central American country, where protesters are seeking the ouster of President Daniel Ortega.

The rights body had previously given a toll of 212 dead, although local estimates recently put the toll at about 250.

The influential Roman Catholic church has been mediating between Ortega&39;s government and the opposition to end the unrest, but the process has become bogged down amid continuing violence.

In the latest outburst, at least 14 people died in a weekend raid by a pro-government mob near the opposition bastion of Masaya, in the country&39;s southeast.

Ortega, a former leftist guerrilla, first came to power through a popular uprising in 1979 before losing a presidential vote in 1990.

He was re-elected in 2007 but opponents have accused him -- together with his wife Vice President Rosario Murillo -- of establishing a dictatorship characterized by nepotism and brutal repression.