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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
India arrests 'foreign militants'
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Troops in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur have arrested 15 suspected foreign Muslim militants, officials said.

They said those arrested during weekend raids in the town of Moreh were either Rohingya people from the Arakan province of Burma or from Bangladesh.

Over the last 15 years, thousands of Arakanese Muslims have fled Burma to escape alleged government persecution.

A large number of Rohingya refugees live in camps in Bangladesh.

'Speculative'

"We think they are members of a Rohingya insurgent organisation operating in Arakan but we are not yet definite which one," Maj-Gen BK Chengappa, who leads Indian counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, told the BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta.

Asked whether those arrested may have links to al-Qaeda, he said there was "no evidence" about such links, which "could only be speculative".

Police said no weapons were seized from those arrested, but some documents have been recovered suggesting they had links with Islamic groups active in Thailand.

Moreh, on the Burma border, is about 109km (68 miles) from Manipur's state capital, Imphal.

"If they are Rohingya insurgents, it is possible they would have links with militant groups in southern Thailand. But this is something we have to check in depth," an intelligence official told our correspondent.

He said possible links between those arrested and local Muslim radicals in Manipur is also being probed.

Earlier this year, three Manipur Muslims working for the Islamic radical group, Lashkar-e-Toyeba were arrested in Delhi.

About 7% of Manipur's population is Muslim.




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