Lt. Col. Sigifredo Ochoa, who led a six-day mutiny here against the country's minister of defense, will be transferred to the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington as part of the arrangement that ended his rebellion, military sources said.
A military analyst called the move "a plum" that could lead to a promotion for the insubordinate officer. Ochoa's replacement as military commander in this north central province is one of his oldest and best friends.
Ochoa, even as he prepares to leave the country, looks like the winner in a showdown that divided the Army and stunned this government's backers in Washington. The target of Ochoa's mutiny, Gen. Jose Guillermo Garcia, has not left his post, but his position is considered to have been compromised seriously.
Asked if there is a deal for Gen. Garcia to resign shortly, a young major here smiled and said, "Let's just be happy and wait."
The end of the mutiny came amid signs that the frayed unity on the military side may have bolstered the leftist guerrillas fighting to overthrow the government.
Wednesday, guerrillas mounted an offensive from their strongholds in Morazan Province to the east and seized the strategic town of Cacaopera, threatening the nearby provincial capital of San Francisco Gotera, the center of Army operations in the area, United Press International reported. Rebel Radio Venceremos claimed to have captured 11 of 50 soldiers defending Cacaopera in "fierce combat," but neither side reported casualties in the battle.
In Managua, Nicaragua, Salvadoran rebel political leader Guillermo Ungo said Ochoa's rebellion has caused an increase in the number of troops surrendering to guerrilla forces, special correspondent Brian Barger reported.
["Since October we have seen an increase in the number of troops surrendering to guerrilla forces, but this has usually been after fighting. In the last four days," he said, "we see troops surrendering without fighting."]