Argentina's Marxist guerrilla leader Robert Santucho and two of his aides were among 12 guerrillas killed by security forces in a gun battle on Sunday (19 July).
GV: street scene Buenos Aires
CU: People reading newspapers (2 shots)
GV: apartment block
GV: highway PAN restaurant with bullet holes in door (3 shots)
The ERP believed to have a fighting force of between 1,000 and 2,000 and its total membership is estimated at around 8,000.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Argentina's Marxist guerrilla leader Robert Santucho and two of his aides were among 12 guerrillas killed by security forces in a gun battle on Sunday (19 July). Santucho was leader of the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP) and following his death, security forces said they would now try to totally destroy the guerrilla group.
SYNOPSIS: An army spokesman said the guerrilla leaders were surprised by troops when they met in a second floor apartment in Villa Martelli, a suburb of Buenos Aires. People read in their newspapers the next morning how the police had discovered lists in the apartment of other urban guerrillas and their hide-outs. The captured files led to another raid on the same day.
Five more men were killed in the second raid by the security forces moved in. The ERP have been considered the most dangerous left-wing group in Latin America but the death of Santucho and the loss of many of their documents must threaten their future existence. Army sources say the destruction of the ERP would mean a drastic reduction in the deaths as a result of political violence that have become a way of life in the Argentine.