80 Killed or Wounded in Battles in Salvador Rebel Strongholds
Heavy combat in northern rebel strongholds killed or wounded more than 80 leftist guerrillas and government troops, a military spokesman said today.
Col. Galileo Torres said guerrillas attacked the El Paraiso garrison, headquarters of the 4th Army Brigade, in Chalatenango province at 1:05 a.m. with mortar fire.
Nine soldiers and five guerrillas died in the attack 37 miles north of the capital of San Salvador and 12 government troops were wounded, he said.
Torres, head of the armed forces press office, also said there were a series of clashes in northern Morazan province between government units and guerrillas.
Both provinces are strongholds of the rebel Faribundo Marti National Liberation Front where guerrillas move freely and even exercise some administration of towns and villages.
He said that the fighting at El Paraiso lasted two hours and that officers on the scene believed “quite a few” rebels were wounded. Six M-16 assault rifles and the bodies of five rebels were recovered, Torres said.
It was the first guerrilla attack on a brigade headquarters since a February assault on the 3rd Brigade in eastern Usulutan province.