Fighting between Sandinista guerrillas and troops loyal to President Anastasio Somoza died down on Saturday (14 July) as reports from Washington said the Nicaraguan leader had made a quick trip to Guatemala.
CU Elderly conscript to National Guard ZOOM OUT to National Guards standing with rifles - in Dario
SCU Young boy recruit ZOOM OUT TO guardsman with machine gun
SV and GV Guardsmen in camouflage dress leopard-crawling (2 SHOTS)
SV National Guard officer shouting commands to new recruits (2 SHOTS)
SV AND PAN Recruits leave barracks, and carrying rifles, board truck (2 SHOTS)
SV Troops waiting to get on to truck at command post in Bacao
GV PAN Troops brandishing guns, leaving in truck for battlefront after two-day period of training
SV Recruits standing around at command post (2 SHOTS)
SV and GV road sign outside command post with sandbags on verandahs as guardsmen stand around (2 SHOTS)
According to the Red Cross, the number of dead in the Nicaraguan Civil War will never be known. They are currently feeding, housing and giving medical aid to 250,000 people in centres in Managua and other cities. Famine remains a real possibility because the war has made it impossible for farmers to plant crops during June and July.
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Background: Fighting between Sandinista guerrillas and troops loyal to President Anastasio Somoza died down on Saturday (14 July) as reports from Washington said the Nicaraguan leader had made a quick trip to Guatemala. One military source said it seemed obvious that no-one wanted to die just before a ceasefire. But earlier in the week, President Somoza's National Guard continued to try and recruit new men--in a desperate attempt to fill depleted government ranks.
SYNOPSIS: With claims that they had circled Managua, the rebel radio, Sandino, appealed to the National Guard on Saturday (14 July) to lay down their arms. But earlier in the week in Dario, a hundred kilometres northeast of the capital, the Guard continued to recruit any male available. It isn't known how many guardsmen have died in the fighting, or how many have fled. But in the countryside, where the Sandinista's have had a firm hold for weeks, the Guard continue to abandon their positions. The rebel radio charges that they have been deserted by their leader General Somoza, and that he is ready to fly out of the country to political asylum in the United States at any moment.
These new recruits will only have two days training before they are sent to the front line. Their chances of survival are slim. When asked about their reasons for joining the National Guard the trainees told Visnews reporters that in the past they had collaborated with the Guard, and now they feared reprisals from the Sandinistas. And many of the younger men said that they had nothing to do and no-where to go.
Most of President Somoza's National Guard are concentrated in the capital awaiting an offensive by the Sandinistas. Soldiers, like these ones in the outlying districts, have little chance of holding back such an offensive. And so the guerrillas simply wait them out in this siege-like war. Eventually, unable to receive supplies or reinforcements, the guardsmen are forced to give in. The Sandinista are continuing a propaganda campaign to convince the National Guard to change sides.