Escaped Terror Suspect Arrested in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A top Islamic terror suspect who
escaped from a high-security jail in Singapore last year has been
arrested in Malaysia, an official said Friday, ending a massive
manhunt for the man accused of plotting to crash a hijacked plane
into Singapore.

Mas Selamat Kastari, suspected commander of the Singapore arm of
the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, escaped from the jail on Feb.
27, 2008, by wriggling out a toilet window in a surprising security
breach that sparked a massive manhunt.

The search had largely focused on Singapore and neighboring
Indonesia, where the Indonesian branch of Jemaah Islamiyah was
thought likely to find him shelter. The group is accused of
carrying out the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia.

However, he was arrested in Malaysia's southern Johor state
bordering Singapore and is being interrogated by authorities there,
said Walter Chia, a spokesman for the Singapore's embassy in Kuala
Lumpur.

"The arrest was made possible with the cooperation of the two
countries," Chia told The Associated Press.

Mas Selamat was captured April 1 in a joint operation involving
the security agencies of both countries, Singapore's Straits Times
newspaper said on its Web site, quoting unidentified regional
intelligence officials.

Malaysia's home minister was expected to hold a news conference
Friday to reveal details.

Mas Selamat, who is known to walk with a limp, is accused of
plotting to hijack a plane and crash it into Singapore's
international airport. He was being held under the Internal
Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without trial.

Security breaches are virtually unheard of in tightly policed
Singapore, an island nation of 4 million people that is a 45-minute
boat ride from Indonesia where Mas Selamat is alleged to have links
with militant groups.

The Singapore government said Mas Selamat escaped from the
high-security Whitley Road Detention Centre because of a "security
lapse." He had been taken from his cell to a room where he was
waiting for his family to make a scheduled visit. He escaped after
being granted permission to visit the washroom, authorities said.

Following his escape, the detention center's superintendent was
dismissed and the superintendent's deputy was demoted.

Mas Selamat first came to prominence in December 2001 when he
fled Singapore following an Internal Security Department operation
against Jemaah Islamiyah.

He was arrested by the Indonesian police on Bintan island in
January 2006 and handed over to Singapore authorities.


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