MANILA: An Australian convert to Islam who used the Internet to urge people to join the jihad in Iraq and Syria was arrested in the Philippines, local police said.
Robert Edward Cerantonio, 29, who also goes by the name Musa Cerantonio, was detained in the central Philippine city of Cebu and will be deported to Australia, said Superintendent Conrado Capa, the region’s deputy police chief.
“In one broadcast on his website, he called on Muslims to join the war in Iraq and Syria,” said Capa.
“We cannot say with certainty that he had any contact with local Muslim groups,” Capa added.
The Philippines has a large Muslim minority in the southern region of Mindanao, a hotbed for a decades-old Muslim insurgency and where Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda also operate.
However, Cebu’s police commander, Chief Superintendent Prudencio Banas, said there was “no evidence linking him to any terror act”.
Cerantonio was arrested at the request of the Australian government and will be deported because Canberra has cancelled his passport, making him an illegal alien, Banas added.
A media officer at the Australian embassy declined to comment when asked about the arrest. —AFP