The Mormon church is pulling 169 missionaries from Nicaragua because of growing political instability in the Central American country.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' spokesman Daniel Woodruff said Tuesday that most of these missionaries will be reassigned to other countries while some will finish their missions early.

Another 158 missionaries will stay in Nicaragua but move to safer areas.

At least 76 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded during a month of protests in Nicaragua that were often violently repressed by police and government groups in actions the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says violated human rights.

The Mormon church has had missionaries in Nicaragua since 1953.

They left in 1978 during the country's civil war and did not return until the late 1980s.