Terrorist group member earmarked for leadership detained
A Singaporean allegedly trained to become a future leader of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist network has been detained in the city-state, the Home Affairs Ministry said Monday. ( dpa )
Rijal Yadri Jumari had been schooled in JI madrasas, sent for terrorism training in Camp Farouq in Kandahar, Afghanistan and met al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden on "a number of occasions," the ministry's statement said.
He is being held under the Internal Security Act which provides for indefinite incarceration without trial.
His detention comes nearly one month after accused terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari, 47, escaped from a detention centre, triggering a massive search of the city-state's forest areas, shore and urban areas.
The detention order for Rijal was issued last Thursday.
"For those who have gone to Afghanistan, met people, went for training, it is no longer a question of just listening to doctrine," The Straits Times quoted Senior Parliamentary Secretary Masagos Zulkifli as saying.
"These are people who have taken action so you don't know how far they'll go," he said. "For the good of all, we have to be very vigilant."
At the time of Rijal's arrest, he was working with foreign JI elements to revive the South-East Asian group's network, the ministry's statement said.
He was hiding overseas and arrested "with the cooperation of regional authorities," it noted, but did not elaborate on how or where he was caught or provide more personal details about him.
Rajal had returned to South-East Asia after his training in Afghanistan, which included the handling of weapons, explosives, surveillance and guerrilla warfare.
Police believe Mas Selamat, the alleged head of JI's Singapore cell, is still in the city-state. He was accused of plotting to hijack a plane to crash into Changi Airport in 2001 and was turned over to Singapore by Indonesia in 2006.
Indonesian and Malaysian police are keeping a tight watch.
Mas Selamat fled from an Internal Security Department detention centre February 27 after receiving permission to go to the bathroom prior to a meeting with his family.
Checks have intensified at border points, leaving motorists and lorry drivers waiting for hours every day. Business in the areas of the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints to Malaysia have complained of a drastic drop in customers as a result.
A three-member panel investigating the escape is seeking to get to the bottom of how Kastari managed it. Once the panel finishes, the government will give "a full account" to the public, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Sende.