El Salvador's ruling junta is reported to be near a potentially explosive confrontation between its own members on the issue of who commands the country's army.
GV Tavern on fire in San Salvador
SV ZOOM OUT Firemen fighting fire (3 shots)
TILT DOWN GV Charred building
SV INTERIOR Body outside restaurant (3 shots)
LV Bus with people around
SCU Bomb under bus
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Background: El Salvador's ruling junta is reported to be near a potentially explosive confrontation between its own members on the issue of who commands the country's army. That authority has been challenged by Colonel Jaime Gutierrez and the Defence Minister, Colonel Jose Garcia who stripped moderate and young officers who helped create the new government of their troop commands. The crisis became worse on Thursday (4 September) when the military leaders of both factions took up residence with their respective troops in two barracks in the capital, San Salvador.
SYNOPSIS: As the two sides negotiated, El Salvador veered closer to civil war. Firebombings such as this have become a regular occurrence.
Observers said the crisis marked the beginning of a new wave of rightist control in El Salvador, where political violence this year has claimed more than five thousand lives. Military sources said the rightist officers won their power struggle when an overwhelming number of barracks commanders voted to obey an order removing the moderate officers from direct command of troops. The sources said the decision marked a sharp decline in the influence of moderate junta member Colonel Adolfo Majano. He, together with moderate sectors of the armed forces, constituted a deterrent to rightist terrorism against alleged leftists struggling for reform.
Gunshots, explosions and bombs increased the tension caused by the acknowledged rift in the ruling junta. A group of soldiers took over a radio station and broadcast statements in favour of Colonel Majano. As well as explosion rocked the building where the Salvador Human Rights Commission has offices, injuring several people.