Acid attack on Nicaragua priest during confession

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Image source, AFP
Image caption, The attack happened at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua

A 59-year-old priest has been injured in an acid attack in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.

Mario Guevara had just finished hearing confession in the Metropolitan Cathedral when a woman threw acid at him.

Fr Guevara is being treated in hospital for serious burns to his face, arms and shoulders.

Worshippers detained the woman and locked her in a room until police arrived.

Police say they are still investigating the possible motive behind the attack but local media have pointed to the fact that the woman was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of foetus in a womb making an obscene gesture.

A police spokeswoman said they had identified the woman as a Russian citizen.

The attack comes at a tense time for the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. The Church has come in for sharp criticism by the government for the role it has played since the start of anti-government protests in April.

Hundreds of people were killed in clashes between protesters and the security forces. Churches became a place of sanctuary for opposition activists and at times came under siege from pro-government forces.

In July, President Ortega accused Nicaragua's clergy of siding with the protesters, whom he accuses of trying to overthrow him. "The bishops are committed to the coup-mongers," he said.

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