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New Peru Army Chief Sworn In

November 27, 2000

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ The new chief of Peru’s armed forces said his officers and troops will obey the constitution under his command _ a message signaling the military will respect civilian authority in the wake of former President Alberto Fujimori’s ouster.

At his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, Gen. Carlos Tafur promised to ``earn the trust deposited in me by the supreme government.″

Tafur’s appointment is viewed as part of a shakeup to purge the military of high-ranking officers loyal to former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, now a fugitive in a spreading corruption scandal that brought Fujimori down.

Defense Minister Walter Ledesma, himself a new appointment, named Tafur on Saturday and said 12 army generals who were scheduled for mandatory retirement Dec. 31 would be forced from the service immediately.

Among the ousted generals _ all military-academy classmates of Montesinos _ was Gen. Walter Chacon, head of the army as well as commander of the joint armed forces.

Ledesma was one of many top officers removed during Fujimori’s 10-year rule for refusing to do the bidding of the president and Montesinos.

Tafur had been in line to take command of the army, but was forced into early retirement by Fujimori in September.

Fujimori resigned last Monday while in Japan, where he has remained. On Tuesday, Congress refused to accept the resignation and dismissed him as morally unfit to govern.

On Saturday, interim President Valentin Paniagua announced a new 15-member Cabinet. Paniagua was appointed by Congress on Wednesday to govern until a new president takes office in July following April elections.

Update hourly