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Singapore confirms arrest of fugitive Islamist militant

The Singapore government Friday confirmed the arrest of a fugitive Islamic militant who escaped from detention more than a year ago.

world Updated: May 08, 2009 07:41 IST

The Singapore government Friday confirmed the arrest of fugitive Islamic militant Mas Selamat bin Kastari, who escaped from detention more than a year ago.

"Mas Selamat has been arrested by the Malaysian Special Branch (MSB) in a joint operation between the MSB and the Internal Security Department," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement to AFP.

No further details were given about the arrest of Kastari, believed to be the head of the Singapore cell of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional militancy group linked to Al-Qaeda.

The JI has been blamed for a string of deadly attacks in Southeast Asia including the 2002 Bali bombing.

The Straits Times newspaper reported early Friday, citing "senior intelligence sources" that Kastari was arrested on April 1 in Malaysia's Johor state, which neighbours Singapore.

Kastari, 48, escaped in February last year from a tightly guarded detention centre after squeezing through a toilet window that had no bars and climbing over a fence.

His escape sparked the biggest manhunt in Singapore's history.

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