Cambodia charges fourth suspected Muslim militant

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia charged a fourth suspected Muslim militant yesterday as South-East Asia intensified a crackdown on a shadowy radical Islamic network blamed for terror attacks in the region. 

In Thailand, police were hunting for accomplices of Muslims arrested in connection with a plan to attack US interests and beach resorts there. 

Sman Esma El, a 23-year-old Muslim teacher at a Kuwaiti-funded Islamic school west of Cambodia's capital, was arrested on Wednesday, a week before a visit to the country by US Secretary of State Colin Powell. 

“We have charged him with international terrorism activities linked to the network of JI,” Cambodian investigating judge Oun Bunna told a court, referring to the Jemaah Islamiah militant group. 

The judge did not elaborate on the activities but said more arrests could follow. 

Cambodian authorities arrested an Egyptian and two Thais last month in a swoop on a Saudi-backed Islamic school.  

They are being held in jail on the same charge as Sman Esma El. 

In a sign the US-led war on terror has shifted focus to South-East Asia, Thailand has also arrested a Singaporean and three locals in the last month, saying they are part of a Jemaah Islamiah cell planning attacks on embassies and tourist spots. – Reuters  

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