Six Peruvian generals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a corruption ring involving former President Pedro Castillo Terrones, the country's Attorney General's Office announced Monday.
The military officers are believed to have paid bribes in exchange for their promotion with Castillo's knowledge and authorization.
After 26 raids carried out in different cities of the country, authorities are still looking for other high-ranking former or present police officers.
The defendants are believed to have paid between US$ 20,000 to US$ 30,000 for their promotion to general during the first year of Castillo's government.
Peru's interior ministry also said it had seized “documents and devices” in more than two dozen searches across the country, including at two homes linked to Castillo’s former defense minister Walter Ayala. On Monday, Ayala criticized the searches and the arrests. “This has been unnecessary because they haven’t found anything,” he said.
The country has faced weeks of unrest following Castillo’s removal from office, with demonstrators urging his release from prison. Many protesters also have demanded early elections, the dissolution of the Peruvian legislature, which has a nearly 90 % disapproval rating, and the resignation of Castillo’s successor, former Vice President Dina Boluarte.
At least 21 people have been killed so far in the demonstrations, drawing concern from human rights groups. The crisis also has fuelled tensions with other countries in Latin America, most notably Mexico, where the government has come out in support of Castillo and offered members of his family asylum.
Monday’s arrests came after a former commander of the army, General Jose Vizcarra, and of the air force, Jorge Chaparro, alleged in November that Castillo’s government had put pressure on them to promote unfit officers.
Castillo is currently under pre-trial detention for rebellion and conspiracy, after being impeached following his decision to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.
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