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Top 3 Military Officials in Peru Resign

October 29, 2000|From Associated Press

LIMA, Peru — Peru's top three military commanders resigned Saturday after rumors that they might be plotting a coup to restore the country's ousted spy chief, a powerful figure whose dismissal has sent the nation into political chaos.

President Alberto Fujimori announced the resignations of the heads of the army, the navy and the air force, saying they were intended to "contribute to the process of institutional fortification in this transition period."

Peru has been in turmoil since the September release of a video showing intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos apparently bribing a congressman to support Fujimori. In the ensuing scandal, Fujimori announced that he will step down, and Montesinos fled the country.

Rumors followed that Montesinos and his allies in the military were planning a coup, and Fujimori has since distanced himself from the former spy chief.

Montesinos returned to Peru on Monday and has been in hiding. Although no charges have been filed against Montesinos, the president launched a personally directed manhunt that many Peruvians believe is nothing but a show.

Fujimori said Interior Minister Walter Chacon would replace Gen. Jose Villanueva Ruesta as head of the army and chief of Peru's joint armed forces command.

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