Peru Police Seek Opposition Leader

CRISIS IN PERU

PERUVIAN police are seeking former President Alan Garcia and ex-Interior Minister Agustin Mantilla on charges of possessing arms caches including high-powered rifles and explosives.

Mr. Garcia, secretary-general of the opposition Aprista Party, has said from hiding that the weapons found in Mr. Mantilla's home must have been planted there by the government. Garcia, president from 1985 to 1990, made the statement before the government announced it would also prosecute him because of arms reportedly found in the headquarters of his party.

Before Garcia could respond to those charges, a band of 100 Aprista followers took to the streets Wednesday, burning tires and calling for civilian resistance to President Alberto Fujimori, who dissolved Congress April 5 and began to rule by decree.

Venezuela Wednesday became the first Latin American nation to break diplomatic ties with Peru as a protest against President Fujimori's authoritarian measures. Peru's Foreign Ministry issued a statement late Wednesday night deploring that decision.

"The government of President Alberto Fujimori is committed to [Peru's] return to constitutionality and legality after moving forward with the constitutional reforms it has proposed," the statement said.

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