US warns against travel to southern Philippines

The United States has warned Americans against travel to the southern Philippines just days after Australia and Canada issued similar advice.

A "security message" from the US embassy in Manila earlier this week said diplomatic staff had been restricted from travelling to three cities on the southern island of Mindanao.

It was followed by a US State Department travel warning dated July 5 advising Americans to exercise extreme caution when travelling to Mindanao, citing "criminal gangs... (and) terrorist groups" in the area.

It also called on Americans to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago, a chain of islands off Mindanao where Al-Qaeda-linked militants are active.

"It (the travel warning) reflects continuing threats in the Sulu archipelago and the island of Mindanao due to terrorist and insurgent activities," the US embassy said in a statement.

Australia and Canada issued warnings on Wednesday about fresh threats of terrorism and kidnapping in the southern Philippines.

Canberra has barred its diplomats from travelling to Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga -- the same three Mindanao cities that US embassy staff are not allowed to travel to.

An embassy spokeswoman declined to comment on the nature of the threat against Americans.

The Philippine national police also did not know of any specific threat against Americans in Mindanao, said spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac.

Mindanao and surrounding islands are a hotbed of various armed groups including communist guerrillas, bandits, Muslim insurgents and the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic extremist group blamed for the country's worst terror attacks.

Founded using seed money from Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, the Abu Sayyaf has often targeted foreigners for kidnappings for ransom.

In 2001, the group abducted three American tourists among a group of hostages from a Philippine resort, leading to the deaths of two of the Americans.

US troops have been based in the southern Philippines for more than a decade to help train local troops in hunting down members of the Abu Sayyaf, which is on the US government's list of so-called foreign terrorist organisations.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin B. Tacadena, VERA Files “Gutom (hunger),” Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of our marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environmetn and Natural … Continue reading → …

  • ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark VERA Files - The Inbox
    ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark

    By Jane Dasal, VERA Files If you want to save the earth, build a boat. That's what a group of environmentalists is saying, especially if you want to save both the forests and fishermen affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). “Haiyan … Continue reading → …

  • Environmental groups oppose proposed coal-fired power plants VERA Files - The Inbox
    Environmental groups oppose proposed coal-fired power plants

    By Patricia Isabel Gloria, VERA Files GROUPS opposed to the building of 25 coal-fired power plants within the next six years gathered outside the gates of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday, International Earth Day, as … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options