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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 11:45 GMT
Singapore militants 'not linked' to Malaysia
US embassy in Singapore
The detainees in Singapore are suspected of bomb plots
A Malaysian official has said the authorities have not found any direct links between two groups of alleged militants recently arrested in Malaysia and Singapore.

The deputy home minister of Malaysia, Zainal Abidin Zin, told the Bernama news agency that 13 suspected militants arrested in Malaysia had ties to terrorist groups in "several countries".

But he said no link had yet been established with 15 suspected militants arrested in Singapore, who have been accused of plotting to blow up US targets there.

The arrests in Malaysia and Singapore have been welcomed by the US State Department as a sign of the determination of South East Asian governments' to fight terrorism.

But they have been criticised by some Indonesian Muslim leaders, who say the arrests are part of a US-led conspiracy against Islam.

Militant links alleged

Malaysian police said last week they had arrested 13 people between 9 December and 3 January on suspicion of belonging to the Malaysian Mujahideen Group (KMM).

The authorities say the KMM's aims include toppling the Malaysian government and establishing a hard-line Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines.

The police said one of the suspects was believed to have links with three men accused of the 11 September attacks on the US.

In neighbouring Singapore, the authorities announced on Saturday that 15 people arrested in December were planning to blow up the US Embassy and American businesses there.

The Home Affairs Ministry said information on bomb building, photos and videos of targeted buildings, and al-Qaeda linked materials had been found in the suspects' homes and offices.

One of the suspects arrested in Singapore is Malaysia.

The suspects in both countries are being held under tough security laws that allow suspects to be held without trial.

See also:

07 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Singapore foils 'bombing campaign'
13 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Singapore tightens anti-terrorism laws
04 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia holds 'militant Muslims'
26 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian opposition fear crackdown
24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia denies harbouring terrorists
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's fearsome security law
14 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's Muslims uncertain after US attack
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