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US approves return of non-emergency personnel to Nicaragua

© AFP/File | Nicaragua's descent into chaos was triggered on April 18 when relatively small protests against now-scrapped social security reforms were met with a government crackdown, backed by armed paramilitaries

MANAGUA (AFP) - 

The United States on Wednesday approved the return to Nicaragua of non-emergency personnel and diplomats' family members after they were pulled from the Central American nation during weeks of deadly anti-government protests.

"Though Nicaragua is not back to normal, due to President Daniel Ortega's campaign of violence and intimidation...the Department of State has lifted" the mandatory evacuation order on non-emergency personnel and relatives, it said in a statement.

A travel warning remains in place for Nicaragua.

On May 31, the US embassy in the capital Managua shut down due to the violence, which have claimed more than 320 lives according to rights groups.

In July, Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel and asked its citizens to "reconsider travel to Nicaragua."

Nicaragua's descent into chaos was triggered on April 18 when relatively small protests against now-scrapped social security reforms were met with a government crackdown, backed by armed paramilitaries.

Catholic Church-brokered peace talks broke down in June after Ortega rejected a key opposition demand to step down and bring forward presidential elections.

© 2018 AFP