Sandinista guerrillas took control of Nicaragua's second-largest city, Leon on Sunday (17 June). It is?
GV & LV PAN Near empty streets in Leon. (2 SHOTS)
SV Armed Sandinist standing in street.
SV & CU Sandinistas relaxing and cleaning weapons. (2 SHOTS)
SV Machine gun in bell tower.
LV Government aircraft flying over.
SV Sandinist ringing bell.
SV & LV Sandinista running for cover. (2 SHOTS)
SV Sandinista commander driving in camouflaged jeep.
LV PAN FROM Aircraft TO rooftops of Leon.
CU Sandinistas in tower using binoculars.
LV & CU Sandinistas camouflaging an armoured car with foliage. (3 SHOTS)
LV PAN DOWN FROM Aircraft TO rooftops and flag in foreground.
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Background: Sandinista guerrillas took control of Nicaragua's second-largest city, Leon on Sunday (17 June). It is about fifty miles (80 Kilometres) north of the capital of Managua, where President Anastasio Somoza's elite battalion is making only minor inroads in the Sandinista strongholds. The rebels already control the city of Matagalpo and there are indications that they are attempting another strike to gain back the city of Rivas, near the Costa Rica border. This city could become the headquarters of the guerrillas' planned provisional government.
SYNOPSIS: When the Sandinist guerrillas took control of Leon, loyalist troops retreated to a fortress prison just outside. Most of the rebels who besieged the city were teenagers, or in their early twenties, and carried a wide range of weapons -- from shotguns to Israeli-made automatic rifles. For the young victors, it is now a time of rest.
But already they are now in control after the two-week siege, the city was still being hit during this week by mortar fire from the prison. The guerrillas must watch the skies too for government aircraft. The Sandinistas claim to have lost only twenty percent of their force, originally estimated at two thousand, and say they killed seventy percent of Somoza's troops.
The rebels set up one of their five command posts in the former West German consulate in Leon. An official communique from General Somoza's command said that the withdrawal of troops from both Leon and Matagalpa was a strategic move, aimed at getting the Sandinistas surrounded.
The Sandinist flag now flutters over Leon although elsewhere fighting continues. But observers say the guerrillas seem to be steadily succeeding in their struggle to oust President Somoza.