Land conflicts between settlers and Miskito Indians on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast have left at least nine people dead this month and 20 wounded.

Indians have armed themselves and are seeking to expel the settlers, who are drawn in part by the area's rich tropical hardwood forests.

The latest death was that of Yatama Indian community leader Mario Lemans. Hundreds of Indians gathered Thursday in the coast's main city, Puerto Cabezas, in preparation for his funeral.

President Daniel Ortega has blamed illegal land sales for the wave of settlers.

Police say Indians have burned some settlers' homes. The Indians say police stationed in the area have shot at them.