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Iran captures top Sunni leader

world Updated: Feb 24, 2010 02:12 IST
IANS
Tehran

Iran has arrested Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Sunni Muslim rebel group Jundollah, state media reported on Tuesday.

The group is accused of drug-trafficking, kidnapping and bombings in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najar told Khabar news network that Iran had planned the arrest in advance but waited so that Rigi could be caught. The Sunni rebel leader was reportedly arrested inside Pakistan and transferred to Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran had arrested one of the most notorious terrorist leaders in the remote Sistan-Baluchistan province. Authorities accuse Jundollah of sowing discord between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority in Iran. The group says it is fighting against discrimination and for the rights of the Sunnis.

The spokesman accused the US of having supported Rigi and the Jundollah group but gave no further details.

Sistan-Baluchistan province a major transit route for narcotics has been hit by a string of attacks and kidnappings, that authorities blame on Jundollah.