Nicaragua army chief charged

MANAGUA (Reuter) - A judge has ruled General Humberto Ortega, former Sandinista guerrilla leader and now head of Nicaragua's army, may face a court martial over charges he covered up a murder by his bodyguards.

The case has stirred up a political storm in the central American country, where General Ortega is variously seen as a revolutionary hero, a tin-pot strongman and an important conciliator between factions who fought a brutal eight-year civil war.

The case concerns allegations that members of General Ortega's eight-man bodyguard shot a 16-year-old Nicaraguan, Jean Paul Genie, in Managua on 28 October 1990 and that General Ortega covered up the crime.