Manila expels U.S. man on smuggling charge

The Philippines has deported an American allegedly involved in supplying weapons to the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, officials said yesterday.

Victor Moore Infante, 34, was escorted by U.S. marshals on a chartered flight for Guam on Tuesday night en route to the U.S. mainland, Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo said in a statement.

Infante, a Los Angeles resident born in the Philippines, was arrested by immigration agents and soldiers in southern Zamboanga city a day earlier.

"His arrest and deportation is another big step in our campaign against terrorism, because this man is known to have aided the Abu Sayyaf in acquiring weapons used by the group in committing atrocities against our soldiers and civilians," Domingo said.

The U.S. State Department revoked Infante's passport after a New York District Court issued a warrant for his arrest on August 22. He was accused of possession of methamphetamine, a machine gun and exporting military firearms and components without a license.

The Abu Sayyaf, which has been loosely linked to al-Qaida, has been involved in numerous kidnappings and beheadings in the southern Philippines.

In May 2001, the guerrillas abducted three American tourists and 17 Filipinos from a resort. They later beheaded American Guillermo Sobero. More than a year later, missionary Martin Burnham was killed in a rescue operation in which his wife, Gracia, was wounded but recovered by Filipino soldiers.

The group is on the run and many of its members and leaders have been killed or captured since U.S. troops held a six-month counterterrorism exercise in Zamboanga and nearby Basilan island with Filipino soldiers last year.

06/11/2003

Bron : Taiwan News

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