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Australia Warns Of Kidnapping Plots in Malaysia


Australia has warned of possible terrorist plots to kidnap Westerners from Malaysian coastal resorts.

A travel advisory issued Thursday warned against travel to coastal resorts, islands and diving sites off the east coast of Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo island.

Malaysia's deputy defense minister downplayed the new warnings, telling the Associated Press there was sufficient security in all parts of Sabah and thus, no cause for alarm.

Kidnappers have struck several times in Sabah, which is a short boat ride from the southern Philippine bases of Muslim separatists and the al-Qaida-linked Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf guerrillas seized 21 people, including Western tourists, from a diving resort on Sabah's Sipadan island. The hostages were later freed in exchange for large ransoms.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.