INTRODUCTION: El Salvador police estimate move than fifteen hundred people have died so far this year in the guerrilla war against El Salvador's military government.
SV INTERIOR Various captured weapons including automatic rifles
SV Weapons including land mines (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Refugee camp at San Vincente
SV Man sitting in shade strumming guitar
SV Women in camp preparing food
SV Young children being swung in hammock by other children
SV Small child playing
SV Children with adults (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Shelters used for housing (2 shots)
SV Guerrillas at government office where they surrendered weapons under amnesty
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Background: INTRODUCTION: El Salvador police estimate move than fifteen hundred people have died so far this year in the guerrilla war against El Salvador's military government. In the latest outbreak of fighting, about 200 leftist guerrillas captured a small town north of the capital San Salvador. Eight people were killed before Army units could force the rebels to retreat to the mountains. The rebels have been waging their war by making surprise attacks and ambushes on government positions. But the armed forces have been hitting back by raiding known guerrilla hide-outs and capturing weapons.
SYNOPSIS: In one of the Army's most successful raids, this large cache of weapons was taken in the town of San Lorenzo, one of the rebels' strongholds.
The arms were taken during a nine-hour battle on Wednesday (18 February). But despite the raid, the leftist forces could not be repelled, and they remain in control of the town. The haul of weapons included home-made land mines as well as American and European automatic rifles.
The continuing violence has resulted in the dislocation of thousands of civilians. Many have fled to refugee camps like this one at San Vincente 38 miles (60 kms) east of San Salvador.
The camps serve as an illustration of the suffering inflicted on uninvolved Salvadoreans.
Human rights groups estimate the fighting last year claimed the lives of 13-thousand people.
No-one is certain how many children have been left orphaned and homeless since the guerrilla war began.
Even in centres like San Vincente, there's no left up in the violence. On Monday (16 February), government troops fought about 50 heavily armed youths in the town, killing 12 of them. It was one of the biggest battles since the latest guerrilla offensive ended in January. Some of the people living in the refugee camp told reporters they had fled there because they were being terrorised by the guerrillas.
The government is claiming a major success in its offer of an amnesty for guerrilla defectors. On one day this month, 300 rebels are reported to have turned in their weapons. The amnesty ends on March the 11th.