MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Contra rebels kidnaped a 41-year-old Californian working with the Witness for Peace group in central Nicaragua, a spokesman for the organization said today.
Paul Alan Fisher was abducted Saturday near La Libertad in Chontales province, 103 miles southeast of the capital, according to the group's local director, Ed Griffin Nolan.
In Washington, Sam Hope, a spokesman for Witness for Peace, said that Fisher's hometown is Mill Valley, Calif., and that his parents live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Hope said that Fisher had been hitchhiking to check out reports of a contra attack against civilians and that the truck in which he had gotten a ride was ambushed Saturday near Santo Domingo.
"We are concerned because we have been warned by contra radio that North Americans should watch out, that they could not guarantee their safety," Hope said.
In Miami, the Nicaraguan Resistance, the rebels' umbrella organization, said they knew nothing of the report but would check it out.
Nolan said he learned of the kidnaping from military authorities but had not been able to independently confirm it.
He said Fisher was part of a 32-member team from the organization that went around the Nicaraguan countryside checking on human rights violations. Nolan said the last time the group heard from Fisher was on Friday when he said he was going to Santo Domingo, about 12 miles east of La Libertad.
The Sandinista newspaper Barricada said Sunday that rebels the day before ambushed two Ministry of Mines vehicles about five miles south of La Libertad, killing three people and kidnaping four others.
"The kidnaped people were not identified, but we are sure (one) was Fisher," Nolan said.
Nolan said Fisher was among those contributing to a recently published report by the peace organization entitled "Civilian Victims of the U.S. Contra War." The report said 350 people have been victims of ambushes, kidnapings, attacks, murders and explosions by the rebels from January through June.