Several dozen election officials kidnapped this week by rearmed Contra rebels were released Friday, the Nicaraguan foreign minister said.
Foreign Minister Ernesto Leal said all 33 hostages were freed in Nicaraguan territory after being held in Honduras.But another government official said they were released about 1 p.m. (noon MDT) just across the Honduran border at the confluence of the Bocay and Coco rivers, about 130 miles northeast of this capital city.
The second official, from the department of agriculture, said all were reported "safe and sound."
Envoys from the Organization of American States and the Catholic Church helped negotiate their release.
There was no immediate word on whether the kidnappers had received any concessions from the government.
A group of 15 former Contra rebels seized the election workers Wednesday and took them into Honduras. The workers had been preparing voter lists for October elections near the village of Somotines on the Coco River.
The Honduran border area where the kidnappers fled was a refuge for U.S.-backed Contra fighters during their decadelong war against the former Sandinista government, which ended in 1990.
Most Contras laid down their arms after the Sandinistas lost power in the 1990 elections. But several bands soon rearmed, claiming the government failed to deliver on promises of aid and complaining of continued Sandinista influence.
Most survive through extortion and banditry.