Rebel Attacks Leave Capital Short of Power
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ Attacks by leftist guerrillas cut power supplies in San Salvador and left a city hall in flames south of the capital.
In another development Friday, a judge ordered that American Jennifer Casolo and seven Salvadorans remain jailed for 90 days while an investigation continues into their possible links to a cache of ammunition and explosives.
The capital’s power supply was cut by half and electricity was being rationed to industrial users Friday after the rebels dynamited eight main power lines, the national power company said.
The Rio Lempa Hydroelectric Co. said rebel sabotage had caused severe service disruptions in Sal Salvador and elsewhere.
Rebels often blow down power lines and pylons as part of a 10-year-old civil war in which more than 71,000 people have been killed.
A statement from the army press office said rebels attacked government forces early Friday in Chalatenango province, 55 miles north San Salvador. It said 17 guerrillas and one soldier were killed.
Rebels also set fire to the city hall, telephone office and a gasoline station in El Transito, 75 miles southeast of the capital, but no casualties were reported, the army said.
Friday’s fighting was the lightest since guerrillas began an offensive Nov. 11 aimed primarily at San Salvador. More than 1,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians have been killed in the offensive.
The legislature of the U.S.-supported government on Friday extended for another 30 days a state-of-siege approved after the offensive began. The emergency, imposed Nov. 12 for 30 days, suspends constitutional guarantees.
The court order Friday extended the detention of Jennifer Casolo, a 28- year-old native of Thomaston, Conn., who was arrested Nov. 25 when police found more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition along with explosives and detonator caps buried in the backyard of the home she rented.
She and the other Salvadorans, one of whom is still at large, have been charged with terrorism, criminal and subversive association and possession of weapons of war, court secretary David Romero said.
Judge Guillermo Romero Hernandez of the 1st Military Court ordered the prisoners held for 90 days during which the defense and prosecution collect and present evidence. The judge then decides if there is sufficient evidence to order a public trial. No bond was set for the defendants.
Ms. Casolo, who has represented the Texas-based Christian Educational Seminars in El Salvador for nearly five years, says she rented the house three months ago, traveled much of the time, and knew nothing about hidden munitions.