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 Saturday, 25 January, 2003, 09:59 GMT
Malaysia arrests suspected militants
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
The Malaysian PM is discussing terrorism in Davos

Malaysian police have arrested two men, including a member of the country's military, on suspicion of belonging to a militant Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda.

The two are said to be members of a cell that helped recruit for paramilitary training in the southern Philippines.

Police have released few details about the arrests but say they expect to make more.

The air force official's rank and role have not been made public.

Logistical support

Both men are said to have been part of a militant cell based in the east Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo.

Four alleged members of the same cell were seized last month.

Together they are believed to have provided accommodation and transport for fellow members of the Islamic militant network known as Jemaah Islamiah.

Sabah is thought to be a staging post for militants travelling to the nearby southern Philippines, where many receive paramilitary training.

Ten days ago Indonesian police arrested two alleged members of Jemaah Islamiyah described as key suspects in the Bali bombing.

Both were seized while apparently planning to flee from Indonesian Borneo into Sabah.

11 September links

Malaysian police have arrested more than 70 people accused of belonging to the same militant network in the last 18 months.

Only one other is known to have links to the country's armed forces.

Yazid Sufaat, a former army captain, was questioned by the FBI after it emerged that his flat was used for a meeting by two of the 11 September hijackers.

Mr Yazid also met with Zacarias Moussaoui, who faces charges in the United States in connection with the attacks on New York and Washington.

All those arrested are being held under Malaysia's tough Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without charge or trial.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

23 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
16 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Nov 02 | Africa
12 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
11 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
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