Immigration authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) foiled over the weekend an attempt by a suspected member of the Al Qaeda terrorist group to enter the country.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente disclosed yesterday that 43-year-old Muhammad Arif from Pakistan was intercepted last Saturday at the NAIA 1 terminal upon his arrival aboard a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.
Morente said that upon confirming that the Pakistani is in the BI database of blacklisted aliens and suspected foreign terrorists, he was immediately turned back and booked on the first available flight to his port of origin.
“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 tell why he was traveling alone,” Morente said.
Thus, the BI chief said “our immigration officers had no choice but to exclude him for posing a threat to our national security and risk to public safety.”
It was learned that when Arif presented his passport at the immigration counter, the passenger registered a hit on the computer of the immigration officer showing that he is in the Interpol’s database of “Al Qaeda Sanction List” of individuals. (Jun Ramirez)