Police chief: Singaporean terror suspect may be hiding in Indonesia

The Associated Press , Jakarta | Sat, 07/12/2008 10:02 PM | Headlines

An alleged Islamic militant who escaped from a Singaporean jail may have fled to neighboring Indonesia, police said Saturday.

Singaporean authorities earlier said they believed Mas Selamat Kastari was still in the city-state after escaping through an unlocked jail toilet window in February.

Indonesian police Chief Sutanto said “it was possible” Kastari may be in Indonesia, where he could try to link up with other members of Jemaah Islamiyah, the regional terror group blamed for
the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks.

“Kastari may well prefer being in Indonesia because he speaks the same language and has a similar face to people here,” he said.”It is easier to hide here than in Singapore.”

Kastari is a Singaporean citizen but of Malay ethnicity. Indonesia’s nearest islands are a 45-minute boat ride from Singapore.

Singapore says he is a key Jemaah Islamiyah leader wo once plotted to crash a jetliner into the country’s international airport.

Indonesia has won praise for arresting and trying hundreds of Islamic militants since the Bali attacks, leaving Jemaah Islamiyah weakened and isolated. Last week, police arrested 10 suspected militants on Sumatra island and seize a cache of bombs. (***)

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