THE MISKITOS and other Indians relocated by the Nicaraguan government miss their old jungle homelands along the Atlantic coast but say they enjoy better conditions in their new camps, according to a joint report by 15 Nicaraguan church groups.
In February the Nicaraguan bishops said the population transfer, which began at the end of 1981, was "drastic" and violated the human rights of the Indians. In Washington the United States government accused Nicaraguan troops of killing Miskitos and burning their villages.
But the joint report said conditions in the camps of Sahsa, Wasminona, Sumubila and Truslaya meet the "basic needs of the thousands relocated thus far: food, health care, lodging ... although many Miskitos are saddened by having left thier. ancestral surroundings and properties, and many regret their separation from relatives who went to Honduras."
"Yet they voiced hope and understanding regarding realities and have quickly engaged in farming, education, and in cultural, religious and sports activities in the camps.
"According to what the majority testify, the relocation was donein a considerate manner, with care, protection and a brotherly attitude by authorities," the report added. The authorities also showed "respect for the culture and traditions of the Miskito corn munit." the report said.
Nicaragua's Sandinistadominated government said the relocation of Miskito. Suma and Ladino villages near the Coco River on the northern border with Honduras was necessary to ensure the Indians' safety and to defend the area against constant raids by followers of the Somoza government, overthrown in mid1979 by rebels led by Sandinistas.
The transfer began in December and by now some 8,500 of the estimated 10,000 Miskitos are at the new camps.
After friction between Sandinista authorities and Protestant and Catholic missionaries in the area, the Nicaraguan bishops declared in February that the human rights of the Indians had been violated.