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Nicaraguan political activist shot in Costa Rica, in critical condition

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Nicaraguans exiled in Costa Rica protest against the government of President Daniel Ortega, in San Jose, Costa Rica September 12, 2021. REUTERS/Mayela Lopez

SAN JOSE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A Nicaraguan political activist who opposes the government of President Daniel Ortega is in critical condition in a Costa Rica hospital after being shot, police and activists said on Sunday.

Joao Maldonado, a well-known leader of demonstrations in 2018 in southwestern Nicaragua's Jinotepe municipality, was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm on Saturday evening in Escazu, 10 km (6 miles) west of Costa Rica's capital San Jose, a police spokeswoman said.

Yefer Bravo of Unidad de Exiles Nicaraguan in Costa Rica said Maldonado, 32, had been organizing a protest against Ortega's government for Sunday in San Jose. The demonstration went ahead, but turnout was low.

A Nicaraguan government official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maldonado underwent emergency surgery, his wife Nadia Robleto said.

More than 80,000 Nicaraguans have requested refuge in neighboring Costa Rica since the 2018 protests; numbers had increased in the past three months as Ortega's government clamped down on opposition politicians and activists.

Reporting by Alvaro Murillo in San Jose; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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