LA UNION, EL SALVADOR INTRODUCTION: In El Salvador, government troops have regained full control of the country's third largest city, La Union.
1. GV & SV Bullet marked San Carlos Church in La Union. (3 SHOTS) 0.12
2. GV & SV Damage interior of church. (3 SHOTS) 0.25
3. SV & GV Troops patrol streets in La Union (3 SHOTS) 0.48
4. CU Ground covered with shell casings. (2 SHOTS) 1.03
5. GV PAN Street scenes in poor area of town. 1.25
6. GV & SV Bank in business district. (2 SHOTS) 1.31
7. GV Red Cross medical centre. (2 SHOTS) 1.39
8. GV Street scene in poor district. 1.43
9. GV Soldier in jeep travels down street. 1.50
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Background: LA UNION, EL SALVADOR INTRODUCTION: In El Salvador, government troops have regained full control of the country's third largest city, La Union. They finally drove off anti-government guerrillas on Monday (29 June) after three days of fighting. Military sources said 30 guerrillas and one government soldier died in the fighting, but this was not confirmed.
SYNOPSIS: The damage caused was considerable. The Roman Catholic Church of San Carlos was especially badly hit. Guerrillas based in the church had succeeded in holding off government forces for two days. The fighting left the church pock marked with bullet holes, with its stained glass windows shattered. Nearby buildings also suffered.
Hundreds of troops patrolled the town after the guerrillas were driven off. The battle had come as a complete surprise. It started on Saturday (27 June) when an estimated 200 leftist-led guerrillas attacked army patrols in La Union and took control of key buildings. The ensuing battle lasted three days, and left thousands of shell casings strewn on the streets. Unconfirmed reports said the guerrillas took several hostages before they withdrew, but apparently released them before fleeing into mountain outside this coastal city.
The 45,000 residents of La Union were reportedly bewildered by the attack. While children scrambled to collect empty shells, adults questioned by reporters expressed shock that the fighting had reached the heart of the city. None agreed to be identified. Civilians hid indoors during the fighting, which was said to be the heaviest in El Salvador since January.
Army sources said 30 died. This could not be confirmed. But Red Cross officials operating from a make-shift hospital in a poor district of the city said 30 civilians were injured by stray bullets. The area is now reported quiet.
Source: BERT PACAS - REUTERS