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BI foils entry of suspected Al-Qaeda member to PH

/ 01:49 PM February 14, 2017

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) foiled the attempt of a suspected member of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda to enter the country over the weekend.

Muhammad Arif, 43, was blocked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 upon his arrival aboard a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok last Saturday.

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A check with the BI database of blacklisted aliens and suspected foreign terrorists showed that the Pakistani national was included in the database.

BI commissioner Jaime Morente said Arif was immediately turned back and booked on the first available flight to his port of origin.

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“We were informed that his purpose in coming here was doubtful because he could not pinpoint the places that he wanted to visit. He also could not say why he was traveling alone,” Morente said.

Initial investigation showed that when Arif presented his passport at the immigration counter, the BI officer found out that the passenger was in the Interpol’s Al-Qaeda sanction list of individuals.

The BI database also showed that the Pakistani was the subject of a blacklist order issued by former BI commissioner Ricardo David Jr. in September 2011.

Arif was included in the BI blacklist then for being an alleged member of the Al-Qaeda.

When interviewed by an immigration supervisor, Arif claimed to be the owner of the Dawn pharmaceuticals store in Islamabad and a distributor of the Novartis Pharmaceutical Company.

The Pakistani national claimed that he has planned a four-day vacation in the Philippines, staying at the Malayan Plaza Hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Aside from the hits in the Interpol and BI database, immigration officers also noticed a striking resemblance between Arif’s passport photo and that of a Muhammad Arif in the Interpol database.

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“Our immigration officers had no choice but to exclude him for posing a threat to our national security and risk to public safety,” Morente added. CDG

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TAGS: al-Qaeda, Bureau of Immigration, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, terrorist
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