By Ismael Lopez
MANAGUA (Reuters) – Four men with suspected ties to the Islamic State militant group were captured on Tuesday by members of the Nicaraguan armed forces after entering the country illegally from Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said.
In a statement, Nicaraguan police said two of the men were Egyptian nationals and the other two were Iraqi. The four were due to be deported back to Costa Rica, it added.
The men entered the country through an unauthorised crossing point known as La Guasimada in the Cardenas municipality on Nicaragua’s southwestern border with Costa Rica, police said.
After capturing the men at around 10 a.m., the army handed over the suspects to national police for further investigation, whereupon they were taken to migration authorities for deportation via the Penas Blancas border crossing, the statement said.
It was not immediately clear what evidence Nicaraguan authorities had to link the men to Islamic State, or whether the four had already been deported.
The Egyptians were named as Mohamed Ibrahim, 33, and Mahmoud Samy Eissa, 26, while the Iraqis were Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury, 41 and Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob, 29.
The men had temporary transit passes issued by Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said. All but one of the passes were dated June 9, with Mohamed Yaoob’s paperwork issued on June 13, the statement said.
(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Shumaker)