BERLIN, EL SALVADOR
Leftist guerrillas were on February 2 retreating voluntarily from El Salvador's eastern town of Berlin after occupying it since January 31.
BERLIN, EL SALVADOR
1. TRACKING: Destruction in street, burnt-out cars, buildings demolished by fire (2 shots) 0.54
2. SV PAN TO TRACKING: Body in street, more buildings destroyed during fighting. 1.09
3. SV: Guerrilla fighters painting slogans on wall. 1.15
4. SV PAN: Guerrilla fighters cleaning weapons. 1.37
5. SCU: Guerrilla army commander, Commandant Cirilo, speaking in Spanish (SOT). 1.46
6. SV TRACKING: Prison official opens cell door, guerrilla fighters in large cell (2 shots). 2.08
7. SV: Army commander speaks in Spanish (SOT). 2.19
8. GV PAN: Townspeople on street. 2.30
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Background: BERLIN, EL SALVADOR
Leftist guerrillas were on February 2 retreating voluntarily from El Salvador's eastern town of Berlin after occupying it since January 31. They overran the town after two days of fierce fighting in which some sixty people were killed. Berlin was the largest town to fall under rebel control in three years of civil war. Much of it was devastated by Salvadoran airforce bombing and rocket attacks, which according to the rebel forces' commander, Commandant Cirilo, were indiscriminate. Radio Venceremos, a mouthpiece for the insurgents, said most of the rebels had pulled out to avoid bloodshed among the 20,000 residents still in Berlin. Government sources said around 10,000 people had fled the town. Berlin is 124 kilometres from the capital. San Salvador, in the coffee-growing province of Usulutan. According to reports received from refugees, the guerrillas told them they seized Berlin to prove they could strike anywhere at any time. An estimated 1500 government soldiers later advanced on the two from two directions. Refugees said the estimated 700 guerrillas had requisitioned about 40 pickup vans, apparently in preparation for a retreat towards the north.
Source: REUTERS - BORIS PINKAS