INTRODUCTION: In El Salvador, government forces have recaptured the town of Perquin from guerrillas who seize it for several days.
GV Soldiers assemble at Gotera Fort.
GV Helicopter at fort.
SV Soldiers marching off.
GV Soldiers setting off in pickup truck.
GV & SV Soldiers checking civilians on bus at roadblock. (4 SHOTS)
SV Civilians get back on bus. (2 SHOTS)
GV Soldiers guarding highway. (3 SHOTS)
SV & GV PAN Telephone pole blown up by guerrillas. (2 SHOTS)
GV Workmen repairing bombed bridge. (3 SHOTS)
GV Electric pylon blown up. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In El Salvador, government forces have recaptured the town of Perquin from guerrillas who seize it for several days. Prior to launching a counter attack on the town, in the northern province of Morazan, the government troops completely surrounded it.
SYNOPSIS: The government moved reinforcements into San Francisco Gotera, the capital of Morazon province, ready to launch a counter-attack against the guerrillas who were only 16 miles away.
The troops were provided with helicopters and fighter plane support.
There were 3,000 troops in the area but the military command did not launch the attack to recapture Perquin for several days because they feared this would provoke the guerrillas to massacre civilians. The town, about seven miles from the Honduran border, was eventually recaptured with a surprise attack on Thursday (20 August).
The government set up roadblocks around San Francisco Gotera to try to stop infiltration by the guerrilla forces. The guerrillas were trying to take control of Morazon province and use it as a base to launch their main attack on the capital, San Salvador. The latest campaign by the guerrillas is believed to be their boldest since the bloody, but abortive, offensive in January.
The government has claimed that foreign mercenaries have been helping - the guerrillas but there has been no concrete evidence of this.
Military surveillance was increased in other areas - After a number of sabotage operations by the guerrillas.
The blowing up of telephone poles to cut communications -- has been far from uncommon and difficult to stop. But the guerrillas have also been attacking lines of transport.
A bridge in San Vicente province, 60 kilometres (38 miles) from San Salvador is one of many blown up by the guerrillas during the most recent surge of violence. Other attacks have cut of water and power supplies to towns.
Last week (18 August) the rebels struck on the outskirts of San Salvador. The destruction of electricity distribution towers cut off power to the capital for 24 hours.