A supporter of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party fires a homemade mortar towards a hotel during a protest in Managua, Nicaragua. Hundreds of FSLN supporters protested outside the hotel where opposition lawmakers held a meeting to repeal a decree President Daniel Ortega issued in January. The decree extends the terms of a dozen public officials. Image Credit: Reuters

Managua: Nicaragua's opposition bastion city of Masaya was under "disproportionate" attack from forces loyal to President Daniel Ortega on Thursday, a human rights group said.

The pro-government forces were using AK47s and Dragunov sniper rifles against civilian residents of the town, Nicaraguan Association of Human Rights head Alvaro Leiva said.

Riot police and paramilitaries had deployed Tuesday in the historically combative city after it declared itself in rebellion against Ortega's government. 

Meanwhile, Nicaragua's bishops said they would travel to Masaya on Thursday "to avert another massacre".

The Central American country's Catholic bishops - tasked last month with mediating a bloody confrontation between opposition and government - said in a statement that they had decided to go to Masaya "to avoid another massacre, give comfort and pray with our people."