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US Embassy warns that terror groups plan to kidnap tourists in Cebu and Bohol



A scene from a propaganda film showing Islamic State militants training in an unknown location in the Philippines

The US Embassy in Manila has warned that terrorist groups may be planning kidnappings in Central Visayas.

The warning for the region, which includes tourist hotspots such as Cebu and Bohol islands, follows “unsubstantiated yet credible information” received by US intelligence.

The warning says: “US citizens are advised to carefully consider this information as you make your travel plans, and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times.”

The embassy has also taken the opportunity to remind citizens of its latest ‘Worldwide Caution’ issued about a month ago.

This warned that there was an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests across the world, including the Philippines.

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The message said: “The Extremists have targeted sporting events, theatres, markets, mass transportation systems —including airlines — and other public venues where large crowds gather.

“Crowded nightclubs, shopping malls, buses and popular restaurants have also been targets.

“US citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while travelling and residing in the Philippines.”

The military is currently launching a reinvigorated crackdown against groups such as Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines and the Maute group whose traditional strongholds are mainly in the southeast of the country.

As we have previously reported, the military offensive comes amid intelligence reports that embattled Islamic State terrorists are looking to the Philippines as a new base as they lose ground in the Middle East.

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For further information or to contact the embassy, visit its website here.

MORE ON ABU SAYYAF AND THE TERROR THREAT IN THE PHILIPPINES:

Couple suspected of Islamic State bomb plot arrested in Manila

Battle-hardened Islamic State fighters plan to regroup in southern Philippines

Australian foreign minister fears Islamic State is coming to the Philippines

Factsheet: The Abu Sayyaf terror group – who they are and what they do

“Now he kills me”: Last words of German beheaded by Abu Sayyaf

Duterte says Abu Sayyaf ‘not criminals’, and blames US for terrorism

Islamic State plotting new terror stronghold in Mindanao

Islamic State chief seriously wounded as he plotted new lair for terrorists

UK jihadist who said bullet-proof boxer shorts were “snake protection” found guilty

Islamic State cash flows into Philippines disguised as OFW remittances

 

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