Straits Times [Singapore] on Thursday, March 20, 2003
KUALA LUMPUR # Malaysian police announced a major breakthrough in the campaign against terrorism on Thursday, saying they had found a long-sought cache of four tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a key bomb-making ingredient.
The fertiliser was found buried in a palm oil plantation in southern Johor state after the arrest of a suspected member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror group, a police spokesman told AFP.
Rumours of the existence of the four tonnes of ammonium nitrate have circulated since security forces in neighbouring Singapore foiled a plot to bomb western targets there more than a year ago.
The breakthrough came after police detained Mohamad Amin Musa two weeks ago. He worked on the plantation belonging to his father, police said.
Mohamad Amin is reported to be a cousin of Taufik Abdul Halim, a Malaysian who is serving life imprisonment in Indonesia after being convicted of a series of bombings there.
JI, which aims to create a regional Islamic state in South-east Asia, is blamed for the Bali bombings in Indonesia which killed 202 people last October.
Members of its senior leadership, including South-east Asia’s most wanted man, Muslim cleric Riduan Isamuddin alias Hambali, are believed to have close links to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terror network.
Malaysia is already holding more than 80 suspected Islamic militants, many of them allegedly JI members, under security legislation which permits indefinite detention without trial.