Leftist guerillas overran a National Guard garrison in a strategic village near the Honduran border, possibly taking dozens of government troops as prisoners, military officials said.
A spokesman refused to give the exact number of soldiers stationed in San Ignacio, the captured town, but indicated that the entire detachment may have been taken. The town has been the scene of repeated guerilla attacks.
The attack came only hours after President Jose Napoleon Duarte called on Leftists to lay down their arms and participate in elections next year. It was the first time the President referred to the Democratic Revolutionary Front, a leftist group, as a contender in the balloting.