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Nicaragua counters thrust by rebels from Honduras

The Nicaraguan Army has launched a large counteroffensive to some 2,000 US-backed rebels who infiltrated the north of the country over the weekend from bases in Honduras.

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Rebel sources in Honduras said fierce fighting erupted in the northern Jinotega and Nueva Segovia Provinces in what was the biggest rebel infiltration to date.

Nicaraguan Democratic Force leader Adolfo Calero Portocarrero said his forces would declare the area they captured a liberated zone and establish a provisional government. Diplomatic sources said the force's reversal of an earlier position against such a move could stem from a desire to control territory inside Nicaragua before the Contadora group's peace treaty could be signed.

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