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Somali man posing as Swede tries to fly to London

December 5, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Mystery surrounds the motives of a Somali man intercepted by Philippine immigration authorities last week while allegedly posing as a Swedish citizen in order to fly to London via Manila.

The man, aged 23 and named on his Somali passport as Abdinajah Mohamoud Aden, arrived at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 from Dubai on 25 November 2017 and was about to board a connecting flight to London.

Aden was apprehended after he presented to Philippine Airlines (PAL) a Swedish travel document instead of his passport, Philippines news service ABS-CBN reported.

A photo of the Swedish document shows it is endorsed “Convention of 28 July 1951” – which identifies it as a refugee travel document issued by Sweden. It was issued to somebody with a different (but similar) name, who was four years older than Aden and who came from Ethiopia, not Somalia.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration travel control and enforcement unit was alerted.

“What is his intention?” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente asked.

“Why is he travelling to London?”

Morente said that foreigners travelling on spurious documents were immediately deported – and that is what happened to Aden. He was booked on the first available flight back to his port of origin.

“It was only during questioning that he was compelled to produce his Somali passport which he had hidden in his luggage,” an airport immigration agent said.

Around the world, sharp-eyed immigration officers and gate agents are often the only barriers to people who want to board planes using bogus or misappropriated documents. Some nationalities are more suspect than others, and Somalis are high on the list, with Somalia being included with other Muslim-majority countries in Donald Trump’s much-publicised travel ban in the US.

Al-Shabab, an Islamic jihadist group which has carried out terrorist atrocities in East Africa, is based in Somalia, which is also a haven for pirates. The Australian Government’s offical advice to anyone thinking of visiting Somalia: “Do not travel.”

That’s not to suggest that Aden is linked to any of that. But you can’t blame the Philippine authorities – and everyone else – for being extra cautious.

Written by Peter Needham

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