Kuwait asks PH to deport arrested IS member
The Kuwaiti government has asked the Philippine government for assistance to speed up the deportation of Hussein Al-Dhafiri, one of two arrested alleged members of the Islamic State (IS).
Al-Dhafiri, together with Syrian female Rahaf Zina, was arrested last March 25 by agents of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Taguig.
Al-Dhafiri is allegedly involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly on operational planning against Kuwait, while, Rahaf is the widow of the slain Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti, who is the number two military commander of the IS operating in Syria.
In a one-page letter received by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Embassy explained that the IS member will “stand trial in the State of Kuwait for his involvement in” the terrorist group.
The Embassy said Al-Dhafiri has a standing arrest warrant issued by their prosecutor general “in relation to crimes against the state security.”
“Evidence obtained by Kuwait’s security agencies also showed that he is planning to carry out terroristic attacks in the State of Kuwait,” it revealed.
The Kuwaiti Embassy said that they have already canceled the passport of Al-Dhafiri, adding that all documents for his deportation have been prepared.
The two alleged IS members have been transferred to the military.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the two would still undergo further investigation by intelligence agencies to determine if they were able to establish links with other groups in the country or recruit members for IS.
Meanwhile, only Rahaf Zina will undergo summary deportation proceedings, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
“Al-Dhafiri has been ordered to file his memorandum in 15 days. He cannot be subject of the summary process because he is properly documented,” Immigration spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang told reporters.
Mangrobang said summary deportation proceedings apply only to overstaying, improperly documented aliens or fugitive from justice.
She said Zina has no passport while Al-Dhafiri even has a working visa.
After filing his memorandum, Mangrobang said the prosecutors will respond; the Board of Inquiry will evaluate and will decide on Al-Dhafiri’s case.
The DOJ chief said the two would be deported only after the probe is completed.
Al-Dhafiri was reportedly involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly in operational planning against Kuwait, while Zina is the widow of the slain Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti, the number two military commander of IS operating in Syria.
Following the arrest of the two, Aguirre said that the government will determine if there were other IS members who slipped into the country and established any contacts with other local groups.
“We are going to continue in partnership with our intelligence units to verify if there are other persons involved,” said Aguirre.
Citing verifications made by the BI on Al-Dhafiri’s travel records, the Secretary noted that the Kuwaiti has been in the Philippines several times in 2016 using a tourist visa.
Aguirre said that Al-Dhafiri and Zina have been in the country since January 28 using working visas, which were facilitated by a local company called Q8 Solutions.
Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the BI is conducting an investigation on the company.
Since the arrival last January of Al-Dhafiri and Zina, Morente learned during the debriefing of the couple that they went to Davao for four days and to Cebu for three days.
During the couple’s stay, Morente admitted that it was possible that the two met with members of local terrorists, like the Maute group.
“That is a possibility and that is being investigated by our intelligence service,” said Morente.
“I think the military is very much aware of this. They are validating this information,” he added.
Morente recounted that the Kuwaiti government made the request for the deportation of the couple, informing the BI that the two face charges for planning bombing operations.
“The place? We still do not have any fixed information (about the bombing target), but it could be in Kuwait or it could be in the Philippines,” said Morente
“There’s a possibility that their planning included the Philippines, they being here in the country,” he added./rga
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