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EX-ALBANIA CHIEF PUT UNDER HOUSE ARREST

Former communist President Ramiz Alia was placed under house arrest Saturday on charges of abuse of power, state media reported.

Albanian TV said Alia, 67, had been arrested at his daughter's home, where he is living, and the house was surrounded by armed guards.Eighteen other former communist officials also were in custody, including Hoxha's wife, Nexhmije, the report said.

Alia became Communist Party leader after the 1985 death of dictator Enver Hoxha, who led a Stalinist regime since 1944. Albania was one of the communist world's most reclusive nations until December 1990, when the communists agreed to allow other political parties.

Alia resigned April 3.