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100 From Pinochet Regime Ordered Held


SANTIAGO, CHILE -- Nearly 100 former soldiers and secret police members from Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship were ordered detained Monday in the biggest mass arrest of suspects in abuses during the period, judicial sources said.

Investigating Judge Victor Montiglio ordered the detentions in an inquiry into the kidnapping and killing of 42 people during Operation Colombo early in the 1973-90 dictatorship, during which 119 Pinochet opponents died. Many of the dead were leftists.

Some of those ordered held Monday worked for Pinochet's Directorate of National Intelligence, or DINA, which ran torture centers where hundreds of people were killed or "disappeared" during one of the darkest periods of contemporary Latin American history.

"It is important that the police now furnish the necessary information to enable the courts to proceed," said Sergio Laurenti, executive director of Amnesty International in Chile. "There is a lack of cooperation from the armed forces and security forces."

Those being investigated include former DINA head Gen. Manuel Contreras, already jailed for his role in other abuses.

© 2008 Reuters

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