An invasion of Nicaragua by anti-Sandinista forces from Honduras appears to be under way, although a senior White House official said intelligence sources believe the fighting is too minor to be considered an invasion.
Monitor correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that, while the number of attackers and other details are unclear, the action is obviously timed to draw attention from the July 18 anniversary of the Sandinista guerrilla triumph over the late military dicator, Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, three years ago.
Word of the attack was given at two news conferences Thursday - one by Interior Minister Tomas Borge Martinez and the other by his deputy, Luis Carrion Cruz. Both are members of the nine-man Sandinista Directorate, ultimate authority in Sandinista Nicaragua.
Mr. Borge said about 5,000 armed anti-Sandinistas are already operating in the rugged northern mountains of Nicaragua, but he indicated more troops had entered Nicaragua in recent days.
It is assumed that most of these attackers are allied in one way or another with associates of the late General Somoza, and would like to restore a conservative government in Nicaragua.
But the Sandinistas are also threatened by some former colleagues, including Eden Pastora Gomez, a longtime guerrilla leader who served for a time as vice-minister of defense before defecting last August. He recently surfaced in Costa Rica, and promised to defeat the Sandinistas.