EL SALVADOR: INSURGENT ARMS - - STOCKPILES AND ORGIN (DELETED)

Created: 3/9/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY NATIONAL FOREIGN ASSESSMENT CENTER

91

El Salvador: Insurgentand Origin

The quantity and quality of guerrilla weaponry has grown dramatically in recent months, but the arms are unevenlyand the insurgents have not yet had sufficient training or experience in using them. fjsssssj

During mostnsurgent forces were armed primarily with an odd assortment of handguns, hunting rifles, and subnachina-guns. Perhaps only twenty per-*ent of their cadre, and FAX. semi-automatic rifles. By August, guerrillas had begun occasionally to employ bazookas, shoulder-fired anti-tank rockets, and recoilless rifleChinoseas apparently used in theeptember attack on the US embassy. Reports in November confirmed that guerrillas had some rifle-propelled, gronades9 grenadeaa rounds for9 were discovered in Honduras and traced4 US shipment ffaamamV

Toward the end of December it was clear that Salvadoran guerrillas were receiving massive shipments of naw arms and ammo, and that the incoming material was significantly more Most notable waa widespread use6 and6 ma automaticsuperior toeai-autooja -jcs used by Salvadoran security forces. The insurgents were also employing rifle-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired rockets, sophisticatedines, and heavy machinegunoa, some reported to be of anti-aircraft capability.

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Location of Arras

The influx of weaponse guerrillas' offensive in January have prompted security forces to step upon safe-houses and arms caches. The raids have revealed thatof the new weaponryajor problem for the guerrillas because of transportation difficulties and increased government security measures. Weapons caches are scattered throughout the country. LmV

So far the arms shipments have not markedly changed the geographical concentration of insurgent operations. Onewould be the escalation of guerrilla activity since November in the southeastern portion of the country; there operation could be in support of covert flights and sea shipments of men and materiel rrox Nicaragua, ssesssj

Major areas of insurgent operations have generally remained in the northernguerrilla fortifications have been discovered near the Honduran border in recentand in che central highlands extending north, west and east from the capital of San Salvador. Activities also remain constant around most of the fourteen provincial capitals; majorelectrics and communication facilities, and milicai

Origin of Arrcs

Inrms were cooing into El Salvadorfrom diverse sources. Enalf million dollars worth ofcertainly of Cubantransshipped through Honduras. Earlier, Fatah hadhipment of rifles and grenades. Smaller shipments of arms, including antitank weapons and sub-machineguns, were received from Sandinistaand Guatemalan guerrillas.

In the springhe Costa Ricanby theshipping arms to El Salvador by land, air,ea; many of these arms had been snuggled into Costa Rica by Cuba, Panama, and Venezuela to support the Sandinista revolution. This Costa Rican network, which funneledwestern-made semi-automatic rifles and munitions, assorted

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by the location of five airstrips being considered asto Papalonai, most of the weapons are stored in the central part of Nicaragua.

Alttiougn some woaponshad been infiltrated frcr Nicaragua to El Salvador by air, the systematic airlift did not begin until last November, after the lengthening and upgrading of Papalonai airstrip. Cessna and Piper planes delivered anons of ams luring November, before the crash of one of the Cessnas late that aonthemporary suspension of the airlift. The small planes vert again used in January to carry weapons end guerrilla leaders into ci Salvador, and airdrops of arms7 aircraftbegun. Flights apparently have been cut back because scrae mercenary pilots have balked since Salvadoran security forcesilot late last month.

Directedicaraguan officialuban adviser under the supervision of the commander of the Sandinista Air Force, the operation has used sophisticated techniques. Tie Cessna and Piper flights have been closely coordinated with the Insurgents, who secure and li

Cuban

military leaders have trained Salvadoran leftists in airdrop techniques and Nicaraguan and mercenary pilots in detection evasion.

The air operation to El Salvador from Nicaragua apparenti has been closed down since the US demarch in late January

ret

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fall tha Sandinistas also stepped up the use of their sea infiltration route. aunches operating out of several Sicaraguan Pacific ports traverse the Gulf of Fonseca at nioht, carrying arms, ammunmion, and personnel.

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Nicaragua.

The boatloads of insurgents who landed on SI ^eaatern coasr In January :ertainly came fron

addition, overland arms shipments through Honduras

probably have increased in recent month*. In late January,

Honduran security forceshipment of weapons and

Munition concealedractor-rrailer and subte<ruer.tlv

H^HBBpjp^Bfjmjmjsmasf

' additional crucfcloarts of weapons had

alvador safely.

Original document.

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