KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Al Qaeda-linked terror suspects recently arrested in Singapore brought tons of bomb-making material into Malaysia, a top government official said Tuesday.
"Police knew that the substance was taken into our country, but now it's no longer here," Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told national news agency Bernama. "It's been sent out. We don't know where to, but the investigation is still going on."
Abdullah was commenting on revelations by Singapore's government last week that a group of militants arrested in December stored four tons of ammonium nitrate in Malaysia and sought 17 more tons to make truck bombs.
Officials at Abdullah's ministry were not available for comment late Tuesday.
Helped by evidence found in Afghanistan, Singapore authorities arrested 15 people in December on suspicion of Al Qaeda links. The suspects allegedly planned to blow up the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic offices and targeted high-profile Americans in Singapore.
Since Dec. 9, police in neighboring Malaysia also arrested 15 suspected members of a separate militant group with alleged ties to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, which is blamed for the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.
The suspects in both countries are being held under internal security laws that allow lengthy detention without trial. The nature of any links between the groups in Malaysia and Singapore is unclear.
Officials say they may be part of a network of militant cells which have plotted violence and are operating in several Southeast Asian countries — including Indonesia and the Philippines.