Six days after yielding power under massive public pressure, deposed President Hussain Muhammad Ershad was arrested Wednesday and confined to a house in an exclusive diplomatic area.

Home Secretary Azimuddin Ahmed said Ershad and his wife, Raushan, were ordered detained for 120 days under a law that permits arrest without charges."He has been put under safe custody. There are no formal charges as yet," Azimuddin said.

Police sources said arrest orders were issued for 16 people, including Ershad, his wife and former Home Minister Mahmudul Hassan, who was placed under house arrest on Tuesday.

Ershad, a 60-year-old former army general, resigned Dec. 6 after seven weeks of escalating street demonstrations for his ouster. His opponents demand he stand trial

to answer accusations of corruption and abuse of power during his eight-year rule.

Ershad was escorted by three police cars and three army trucks to the former home of the British ambassador, which was hastily prepared for his detention.

The ex-president looked grim as he rode through the gate of the home in the Gulshan district. He was in the back seat of a private car with his wife and 8-year-old son, Shahd.

More than 150 police officers surrounded the walled house opposite the British embassy. The two-story colonial-style house once served as a guest house for Queen Elizabeth II but has been empty for some time.

A sign near the gate said "Law Enforcement Commission."