Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza has accused Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo of encouraging the Sandinist guerrillas who have recently renewed their efforts to bring about the downfall of President Somoza's right-wing government.
Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza has accused Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo of encouraging the Sandinist guerrillas who have recently renewed their efforts to bring about the downfall of President Somoza's right-wing government. At a news conference in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, on Saturday (2 June) the President said the guerrillas were receiving sophisticated weapons from neighbouring Costa Rica and claimed there was an overall plan to instigate general insurrection against hi government.
SYNOPSIS: The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry announced that the Sandinistas had launched a five-pronged attack in the south of the country on Tuesday (29 May) last week. As government troops moved in to counter the offensive, nicaraguan Foreign Minister Julio Quintana said three hundred well-armed Sandinistas had crossed the border from Costa Rica and that one group had been trapped in the town of Rivas, about ninety miles (170 kilometres) from Managua.
AS the fighting intensified around Rivas and El Naranjo, the Nicaraguan government said the outcome of the latest guerrilla offensive would be decided there. But further guerrilla attacks in other parts of Nicaragua were expected following an announcement by the clandestine Sandinist Radio that a "final offensive" had begun and would be followed by a "popular insurrection". In a broadcast monitored in Costa Rica and radio called on all Nicaraguan workers to stage a nation-wide strike from Monday (4 June).
In Rivas, the Nicaraguan National Guard was assisted by air force planes -- but as the fighting regard there were reports that guerrilla activity had extended to Managua. On Friday (1 June), four days after the start of their offensive, groups of between twenty and thirty men attacked police patrols in the San Judas and Maximo Jerez districts of the capital. President Somoza has repeatedly linked the Sandinistas with communism, but local observers prefer to describe it a "broad opposition front".
Meanwhile, in Rivas, civilians sought to avoid bloodshed by fleeing from the fighting carrying the white flag of surrender. On Sunday (3 June) the government claimed that an "international brigade" comprising Nicaraguans, Panamanians, Venezuelans, Colombians and Spaniards were fighting the National guard in the south of the country.
Conflicting reports on the progress of the battle around Rivas continued to filter through on Sunday. Nicaraguan government spokesman Rafael Cano said troops were closing in on the guerrillas in nearby El Naranjo; Radio Sandino claimed the guerrillas had seized the town of El Ostional, but Senor Cano dismissed this as false. Also on Sunday the government said it had repulsed a Sandinist attempt to seize the northwest city of Chinadega.
President Somoza says the latest guerrilla offensive is bigger than the one last September which resulted in a general uprising being crushed by the National Guard.